Fri, 22 Jan 2021

Western Australia has been allocated its first top-level cricket of the season with five BBL matches penciled in for Perth during early January - including four home games for the Scorchers - and Melbourne will host 11 matches with confirmation of the remaining tournament fixtures which takes the competition to every major cricket market.

While the fixture list remains dependent on various border restrictions being lifted, the Scorchers are set to play the Melbourne Renegades (January 3), Sydney Sixers (January 6), Sydney Thunder (January 9) and Hobart Hurricanes (January 12) at Optus Stadium. There will also be a neutral fixture between the Hurricanes and Thunder on January 7.

Until now, Perth had a barren fixture list due to the state's hard border. It had initially been hoped that the Australia and India teams would quarantine in the city and potentially play the white-ball matches there, but those plans ended some months ago. The Afghanistan Test, which had originally been scheduled for the end of November, was also postponed due to difficulties around scheduling.

ALSO SEE: Full BBL fixtures

"We've shaped the season such that we've tried to take advantage of borders that are open, obviously it's a pretty moving target at the moment, but we are really confident the flow of the season allows us to do that," Alistair Dobson, the head of the BBL, said. "We are working really closely with the authorities in WA to make sure we have everything in place to get into WA."

As was shown in Adelaide last week, CA knows they may still need to adapt at short notice. "It was a testament in our ability to move quickly, we'll have to be on our toes all year, equally it was a reminder that while the situation is improving we still need to be really focused on the safety and well-being of players and fans," Dobson said.

The early part of January also sees additional fixtures in Queensland, Hobart and Adelaide before the competition relocates to Melbourne and Sydney from January 13 for the weeks leading into the finals series.

Melbourne will host 11 matches - five at Marvel Stadium and six at the MCG - with the SCG and Sydney Showground having four games each.

Although the schedule has been put together in rolling hubs, there is considerable travel involved and that will largely be done through chartered rather than commercial flights.

"Moving players around has played a big role in how we've structured the schedule...it's a bit trickier than normal years," Dobson said. "It's an added expense but part of delivering a Big Bash season this year."

The regular season will conclude with a triple-header on Australia Day (January 26) with the MCG hosting two games (Renegades v Hurricanes and Stars v Sixers) and the SCG one (Heat v Scorchers).

The hope is that the finals series will be able to be staged in a traditional manner with home advantage while Dobson was hopeful that the crowd capacity penciled in for the Boxing Day Test of 25,000 at the MCG, with talk of pushing that towards 40,000, would be replicated for the BBL in Melbourne.

Mick Murray, Western Australian Minister for Sport and Recreation, said: "It is exciting that the Perth Scorchers will have the opportunity to play four matches before a home crowd during this summer of cricket. This is a fantastic outcome for the State - and I thank the WACA, VenuesWest, Cricket Australia, the Chief Health Officer and the Police Commissioner for their work in securing these five games for WA."

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