Sydney, July 19: Cricket Australia on Tuesday (July 19) announced its schedule for the upcoming 2016-17 domestic summer.
The summer of cricket launches on 1 October with the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup to be hosted in its tournament-style format starting in Perth and Brisbane before heading to Sydney, stated the official press release.
The one-day domestic competition is a chance for the finest players in Australia to vie for state glory as well a potential international call up, particularly for the Victoria Bitter One Day International Series against New Zealand and Pakistan later in the summer.
Fans can also tune in to watch 13 Matador BBQs One-Day Cup matches broadcast live and in HD on the Nine Network, including three day-night matches and four matches in Perth that will be broadcast in primetime on the eastern seaboard.
The Sheffield Shield season launches with a day-night round on 25 October at the Gabba, WACA and the MCG, ahead of the Adelaide and Brisbane day-night matches in the Commonwealth Bank Test Series against South Africa and Pakistan.
Another day-night round is scheduled in Round five, starting 5 December, to be played at the WACA, Adelaide Oval and Blundstone Arena.
Two new markets will also host a Shield match this season with Townsville showcasing Queensland's match against Western Australia on 29 November, and Wollongong to host New South Wales and Tasmania next year from 25 February. In addition, Victoria is set to host one home game during the Shield competition in Alice Springs.
Following a successful trial in the past two seasons, a bonus points system will again be implemented for the Sheffield Shield this year.
In order to ensure a balance between bowling and batting bonus points the points system will change slightly this year, with 0.1 bonus points awarded for every wicket taken in the first 100 overs of an innings (for a maximum of 1.0 bowling bonus points possible per innings).
Entering its 21st season, the Women's National Cricket League will be played in a carnival-style format on weekends from 13 October, culminating in the final on 3 December. It will also include some day-night matches. The WNCL provides welcome preparation for players ahead of the second season of the Women's Big Bash League, starting on 10 December.
The Toyota Futures League fixtures were also finalised and are available below.
Cricket Australia's Executive General Manager - Team Performance Pat Howard said, "We are excited to announce the schedule of domestic cricket for the 2016-17 season, which will see elite cricket played around the country from October.
"The way the schedule has been structured also reinforces the significant role our domestic competitions play in helping players prepare for cricket at the international level. From the high level of competition in the Matador BBQs One-Day Cup to start the summer, to day-night rounds in the Sheffield Shield, we want our players to have the skills to succeed not just domestically but at the highest level against international opponents.
"The Nine Network are working very hard with us to elevate the profile of the Matador Cup, and we're really grateful for this. We want as many fans around Australia to be able to witness the established and emerging talent cricket has to offer, and with limited grounds available to host the tournament in October, this opportunity gives fans the chance to catch some great action, no matter where they are around the country.
"We continue to play all our domestic formats in dedicated blocks of cricket so we can devote attention to growth in every format."
"The Women's National Cricket League is entering its 21st season and will continue to be a proving ground for elite cricketers from the around the country as well as providing preparation for the highly anticipated second season of the WBBL."
"We firmly believe we have a strong structure to our domestic competitions which identifies and elevates players who are performing, so that we can continue to strive for success on the international stage," said Mr Howard.
Tom Malone, Director of Sport at Nine Network said: "at a time when interest in Australian domestic cricket has never been stronger, the Matador Cup provides Nine with a terrific launch pad for our summer of cricket.
"Genuine state rivalries forged between star-studded teams, featuring big name Australian players and the next generation of superstars, on the always unpredictable One Day stage guarantees a thrilling ride for viewers," Mr Malone said.
SUMMARY OF AUSTRALIA'S 2016-17 DOMESTIC SCHEDULE
Matador BBQs One-Day Cup:
· Launches the start of Australia's summer of cricket
· Played from 1-23 October with 13 matches broadcast live on GEM, including three televised day-night matches
· CA XI team returns to compete in Matador BBQs One-Day Cup following successful First Class debuts of a number of last year's CA XI emerging players
· To be hosted in its tournament-style format starting in Brisbane and Perth before heading to Sydney and culminating in the final at the picturesque North Sydney Oval
· NSW Blues are the reigning Matador BBQs One-Day Cup champions
· Sheffield Shield to be played in two blocks around the BBL: 25 October to 8 December 2016, and 1 February to 30 March 2017
· Two day-night Shield rounds again scheduled this season: Round 1 starting 25 October (Gabba, WACA and MCG to host), and Round 5 starting 5 December (WACA, Adelaide Oval and Blundstone Arena to host)
· Victoria will be aiming for their third straight Shield title this season after going back-to-back last season
Women's National Cricket League (WNCL):
· Season to begin on 13 October with the Grand Final rematch between New South Wales and South Australia, and finishing on 3 December before the WBBL
· Will be played in a tournament-style format over four weekends to accommodate any working or studying commitments of the players
· Arguably one of the strongest female domestic competitions in the world
· SA Breezeair Scorpions broke the NSW Lendlease Breakers' dominant 10-year winning streak to take the 2015-16 WNCL title.