Sydney, Nov.30 (ANI): Cricket Australia is planning to initiate a radical change to next summer's international fixture-a seven-match one-day series against England before the Ashes.
This is a first by Cricket Australia, which has been forced to divide the Test and limited-overs component of the summer because there is insufficient time to stage two ODI series of five games each - as has been the practice since the triangular format was abandoned, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The planned series is almost certain to draw criticism since the consensus among players, including Australian captain Ricky Ponting and his South African counterpart Graeme Smith, that seven matches in a bilateral series is too many and feeds the glut of meaningless games.
This became a hot issue when Australia remained in England for seven ODIs after this year's Ashes and thumped Andrew Strauss's team 6-1; the last three games were dead rubbers.
However, Cricket Australia's general manager of public affairs, Peter Young, said Australia's recent 4-2 series victory in India with an undermanned team was evidence that seven-game tournaments could be exciting.
"It's a balance and it is arguable as to what is the best number, but there is a significant public appetite for Australia-England cricket and we just played seven games in India which was one of the best series we have played in recent times. It also gives us the ability to spread games around the country," Young was quoted, as saying.
Australia has never hosted a seven-game ODI series because until two summers ago the triangular format had been a cornerstone of the season for more than a quarter of a century.
Young believes three games against Sri Lanka to be a good way to launch the summer in a hotly anticipated Ashes year. (ANI)