Australia will be treated to a marathon home international cricket season, but only four Tests in 2014-15.
Cricket Australia is banking on a white-ball extravaganza to sustain the interest of fans in a marathon 2014-15 home international season that will last almost five months.
It will not so much be a summer of cricket, but a spring, summer and autumn as Australia host South Africa, India and England prior to the World Cup starting on February 14.
It begins with the Proteas playing a Twenty20 tour game on November 2 at North Sydney Oval as they tune up for three T20s and five one-day internationals (ODIs) against Australia.
Despite the quantity available, traditionalists will argue the calendar lacks long-form quality with world No.1 Australia playing only four Tests – all against India.
Not since New Zealand toured for three Tests in 1973-74 have Australians had to make do with so few Tests over summer.
“But that lack of Test content is supplemented by significant increases in one-day cricket as a prelude to the World Cup,” CA chief James Sutherland said.
“It’s a summer of cricket like we’ve never seen before, in terms of the amount of cricket.”
When South Africa depart, India will be starting the first of their two tour matches (November 24-25 and 28-29) in Adelaide to prepare for a four-Test series.
Brisbane (December 4-8) and Adelaide (December 12-16) host the first two Tests before the traditional fixtures at the MCG and SCG.
The coloured clothes then return for an ODI tri-series featuring India and England, the highlight of which will be an Australia Day match against India at the SCG – a fixture usually played at Adelaide Oval.
The WACA missed out on a Test this season, but will host the final of the tri-series on February 1 in addition to two ODIs against South Africa on November 14 and 16.
“We’ve got seven international teams coming through Perth to play big matches,” Sutherland said, referencing the three World Cup pool matches to be played at the WACA.
“It’s always a bit of a juggle to get it exactly right.”
The international schedule has been rejigged due to the World Cup, which Australia will co-host alongside New Zealand with the final to be played at the MCG on March 29.
The same event will force some matches in the second half of the Sheffield Shield season to be played at regional venues, with the SCG, MCG and Adelaide Oval unavailable.
The domestic one-day competition will continue in a tournament format, with the games played in Brisbane and Sydney between October 4-26.
Australia’s world champion women’s team will tackle Pakistan and West Indies, playing four T20s and four one-dayers against each of the touring sides.