The Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) has responded to Cricket Australia’s (CA) release of the domestic schedule, and the ICC Future Tours Program (FTP).
ACA General Manager - Cricket Operations, Brendan Drew, said he was pleased the Sheffield Shield final remains as the pinnacle of the men’s domestic season.
“We commend CA for retaining the Sheffield Shield final,” said Drew.
“For the players, the Sheffield Shield final is a key element of the Australian cricket summer, given it provides a high-pressure environment that compares to Test matches.
“Coming into a World Cup and Ashes year, a competitive schedule with finals is vital to prepare players for the tough international fixtures we will face.
“Additionally, the support of the JLT Cup and Sheffield Shield final by Cricket Australia’s broadcast partners, is a strong indication that Australian domestic cricket continues to be attractive to the fans.”
Drew said that there were still opportunities to improve aspects of the fixture, especially providing greater opportunities in the women’s game.
“Female players have indicated strongly in recent years they would like to play more domestic cricket,” said Drew.
“Moving forward, our schedule must provide further opportunities to play 50-over and longer-form cricket, which is seen as the pinnacle in the women’s game.”
Also commenting on the release of the ICC Future Tours Program, Drew reiterated the importance of linking the domestic game with contextual international cricket.
“Both Australian and International players have been calling for more matches of context for a number of years now, so the Test and ODI Championships are a welcome inclusion.
“Australia’s male and female teams will be tested in the coming 12-24 months, so achieving the right balance between domestic and international schedules must remain a high priority.”