Australian Cricketers' Association CEO Alistair Nicholson has welcomed the release of the Sheffield Shield fixture today, which features three Sheffield Shield games before the first Ashes Test in November.
Nicholson was pleased at the value was being placed on the longer format of the game, ahead of such an important summer.
"The Sheffield Shield has been proven as the best High Performance environment to prepare players for Test cricket," Nicholson said.
"The Ashes is an incredibly important Test fixture, so to get three competitive games in before the series will be of huge value.
"The selections in the national team of Peter Handscomb and Matthew Renshaw on the back of strong Shield performances last year, paved the way for their strong start to their Test careers.
"The players value Sheffield Shield immensely, and are pleased that they have been given the best opportunity to succeed in the upcoming summer of cricket."
For the full fixture please click here.