By Nick Creely
Cricket Victoria has confirmed its preferred start date for the 2020/21 Victorian Premier Cricket season, with the governing body targeting 24 October as the day to get the season underway.
Due to the current Covid-19 situation across metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, there has been a great deal of uncertainty regarding the returning to training, and ultimately the return to a playing capacity for the upcoming season.
As such, Cricket Victoria presented clubs with a series of scenarios for a return to the field if 24 October falls over, which includes a cut-off date.
The following scenarios for the season include:
1. 24 October start date (Cut-off date: 10 September)
2. 7 November start date (Cut-off date: 24 September)
3. 21 November start date (Cut-off date: 8 October)
4. 5 December start date (Cut-off date: 29 October)
5. 9 January start date (Cut-off date: 26 November)
6. 23 January start date (Cut-off date: 10 December)
7. 30 January start date (Cut-off date: 5 January)
Based off advice from Cricket Australia, Cricket Victoria High Performance, BBL teams, the Premier Cricket Strategy Group, and the clubs themselves, advice has been given that players would require the following pre-season workloads to be ready for first XI competition:
– T20 matches (3-5 weeks of bat vs ball);
– One-Day matches (4-6 weeks of bat vs ball);
– Two-Day matches (6-8 weeks bat vs ball).
Cricket Victoria has recommended that most of the Premier Cricket season should be played in a shorter format (eg. One-Day/Twenty20 for women and One-Day for men), with consideration given for any possible Covid-19 outbreaks midway through a two-day match.
For the men’s and women’s competition, some different structures for the season will be dependent on the season start date, however some key items include – for the men – that two-day matches will only be played in scenarios one and two – played from February and during finals, with the first five rounds to be played between teams that are geographically close to each other to avoid unnecessary cross-town travel. A start date of 30 January is the latest the season would start.
If there are no interruptions to the season, the Premier Cricket grand final will be held on the weekend of 17 and 18 April.
For the men’s third and fourth XIs, scheduling will be reviewed with the potential for one-day matches only this season.
In terms of the women’s competition, separate T20 and One-Day competitions will only take place in scenarios one, two and three, with 31 January the latest the season would start.
Women’s third XI scheduling will be reviewed and developed with input from the Women’s panel.
At this stage, the women’s grand final is scheduled for 28 March – barring any delays in the season start.
The Vic Super Slam – which has been played to great success so far – will be finalised once a clear understanding of a start date is known, however should the season not be able to start by 7 November, Cricket Victoria will review whether the competition will take place this season.