WNCL schedule confirmed to boost Aussie Ashes readiness

The revamped National Women’s Cricket League schedule has been confirmed, with the national 50-player competition set to start in Melbourne on December 16.

The start of the 29-game season has been postponed from September due to state borders being closed, but will still end as scheduled on March 6.

As a first step, every match in the 2021-22 season will be streamed live for free to Australian fans on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app, while all matches will also be broadcast on Kayo Sports.

In previous seasons, only the final was routinely broadcast live each year, with the remaining matches being broadcast by the host state on an ad hoc basis.

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It builds on the work started last season, when the quantity and quality of WNCL streaming increased dramatically, and 19 of the 29 matches were broadcast live by cricket.com.au, with some of those featured on Kayo .

The tournament’s opening will see Victoria host the ACT Meteors at Junction Oval on December 16, while a tantalizing clash filled with international players between Victoria and NSW Breakers will be played at the same venue on December 19.

Defending Queensland champions will kick off their title defense on December 17 against a Tasmanian side who have added Molly Strano and Elyse Villani to their ranks.

Members of the Australian squad will be available for the first half of the season – playing up to four matches each – but international duties will prevent them from making it to the second half and the final.

The 14 games played in December and January will offer Australian stars a chance to prepare for Commonwealth Bank Ashes and the ODI World Cup, and give those on the sidelines a chance to make a statement to national managers .

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The second half of the season will be a fortnight of action in February, with fourteen matches in as many days before the final on March 6.

Matches are scheduled in all six states and ACT, but, while most borders around Australia are expected to open early in the tournament, a lack of clarity around the WA border could force further changes. on the calendar.

Currently, WA is due to host South Australia for two matches in December and travel to Hobart for two matches against Tasmania in January.

“The WNCL is integral to the success of our national team and maintaining the strength of the competition is a priority for Australian cricket,” said Peter Roach, Cricket Australia operations manager.

“Like all sports, we cannot rule out facing the challenges created by the global pandemic at some point in the season.

“However, the lessons of summer 2020-21 have prepared us well to be nimble and adapt as needed to deliver the best possible season for players and fans.”

Each team will again play eight games before the two top-ranked teams meet in the final.

This is a continuation of the status quo, despite pressure from players and coaches in the state to return the WNCL to a full season round trip, which has not been the case since introduction of the T20 state competition ten years ago.

Currently, the state women’s and men’s one-day competitions are structured in the same way where each team plays at least once against the other, with the WNCL offering more games because they have a team. additionally, the ACT Meteors.

However, in the absence of multi-day women’s cricket, the country’s national players – who achieved semi-professional status in the last salary deal in 2017 – train from June to April for a maximum of nine matches for their state by season.

Roach told cricket.com.au in July that a WNCL expansion remains on CA’s radar, but this season is about balancing the national schedule and the team’s busiest international season. Australian female in recent memory.

“It’s definitely on the radar for the future to make sure our growing depth and talent play enough matches to prepare them for international cricket… whether that means 10 matches (in the future) or something different, these are things that we are looking at. “

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