Key points from BBL and WBBL schedules

The COVID-19 pandemic means there are still plenty of unknowns about the next BBL and WBBL seasons.

BBL AND WBBL SCHEDULES

* DID THE BIG BASH LEAGUE REALLY GET BIGGER?

Cricket Australia is keeping the same number of games (61) and finals structure. The season will wrap up in the first week of February, as was the case in 2019-20. However, a notably earlier start date means the season will be longer. Holding the BBL opener on December 3 (after play on day one of the first Australia-India Test) allows CA to schedule more prime-time games. The bigger window will also mean more flexibility, should fixture changes be required due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* IS THE SCHEDULE LOCKED IN?

It depends entirely on the state of the health crisis and how it is affecting different cities and states. CA has made it clear the fixtures could change, but obviously it would prefer that doesn't happen. It's believed the governing body was contractually obliged to release both schedules now, giving broadcasters something to work with.

* WILL THERE BE HUBS?

That will depend on whether coronavirus prompts more changes. The WBBL season features a three-week block of matches in Sydney during the middle of its season. If hosting all eight teams in Sydney is not viable in October-November then this stretch of games could be shifted elsewhere.

* WILL INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS BE INVOLVED?

CA is still finalising details, including the likely introduction of a draft, but hopes the answer will be yes. In some sense it will be a trickier logistical challenge compared to hosting India's Test squad, as recruits will be coming from a range of countries. Quarantine restrictions will mean short-term signings are practically impossible.

* WILL THERE BE RULE CHANGES?

Almost certainly yes. CA has been working closely with clubs and broadcasters and discussing various tweaks. Don't expect a major overhaul, but split powerplays and free hits for wides are some of the innovations likely to be introduced.


AAP