Sydney [Australia], May 19 (ANI): Cricket Australia on Wednesday announced the men's and women's 2021-22 international season and Nick Hockley, CA's Interim CEO, said Australian cricket was excited for the action-packed summer ahead.
In addition to the Ashes series, the Australian men's team will host Afghanistan for a Test for the first time ever before finishing with nine ODI and T20 matches against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, while the Australian women's team will host India at the start of the summer.
"Building on a fantastic summer of cricket just gone, we are absolutely thrilled to announce our women's and men's international fixtures for the 2021-22 summer of cricket," Hockley said in a release.
"The lessons learned from successfully delivering a safe summer in 20-21 gives us confidence on what we're able to achieve, and we're all hoping for a summer of full crowds and an Ashes atmosphere we're all accustomed to.
"International touring and associated quarantine means additional work and sacrifice for all involved, and we would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone coming to Australia this summer -- the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the Afghanistan Cricket Board, New Zealand Cricket and Sri Lanka Cricket -- for agreeing to send teams to Australia this summer.
"The 2020-21 summer produced one of the greatest Test series ever, and this season promises to be just as big, if not bigger. The drama of the Ashes rivalry, the intrigue of a first-ever Test against Afghanistan, the passion of an Australia-India series and the excitement of white-ball series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka is an extraordinary line-up which will see the best players competing on the world stage right across Australia."
Preceding the Ashes will be a historic first Test match against the Afghanistan men's team at Blundstone Arena on November 27.
Commenting on the road ahead, Hockley said: "The men's Ashes is one of the great global sporting rivalries and seems to grow ever larger with each series and generation. We cannot wait to host England over five Tests this summer. The most recent Ashes series was a remarkable contest that captured the imagination of the entire cricketing world and I expect this summer to be no different.
"In a perfect world, we would welcome the Barmy Army back to these shores for a summer of singing and sportsmanship. Of course, we will be guided by the Australian Government on all things related to international travel. We are also incredibly excited to welcome Afghanistan to our shores for a historic first Test match against Australia. The story of the Afghanistan cricket team is one of the most uplifting in international sport, and their record of three wins from their first six Tests prove they truly belong at this level.
"The men's international summer concludes with a feast of white-ball cricket against the formidable New Zealanders and Sri Lankans, both of whom have huge followings in Australia. Both series will be keenly contested and serve as excellent preparation for the T20 World Cup in Australia later in the year."
The conclusion of the men's Test program will usher in the arrival of the New Zealand and Sri Lankan white-ball squads, who will play a combined three ODIs and six Dettol T20Is against Australia as teams finalise their preparation for the coveted ICC T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled to begin in October, 2022.
The Black Caps will take on Australia in three ODIs at Perth Stadium (January 30), Blundstone Arena and the SCG (February 2 and 5) for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy followed by one T20I at Manuka Oval (February 8) in the latest instalment of the trans-Tasman rivalry.
Sri Lanka, the 2014 T20 World Cup champions, will round out the men's international summer with five T20Is against Australia at the SCG (February 11), The Gabba (February 13), Metricon Stadium (February 15), Adelaide Oval (February 18) and the MCG (February 20).
New Zealand have replaced South Africa in the ICC Men's international tour program. The Proteas were originally slated to play white-ball matches in Australia this summer as per the ICC Future Tours Program, however due to the significant disruption to the cricket calendar caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa's home summer has been extended and thus ruled out the possibility of an Australian tour at this time.
For the women's team, the international summer begins with a series against India, the final venues and dates of which are still being finalised with the BCCI. The women's international season breaks for the WBBL before returning for what will be an enthralling Women's Ashes series, to be contested once again across the three formats of the game.
At the conclusion of the series, the Australians will depart for New Zealand to take part in the 2022 ICC World Cup in a year that will also see them represent the nation at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
"Not even a global pandemic could stop the momentum created by the Australian women's team after the record-breaking T20 World Cup in 2020," Hockley said. "Australia's favourite national sporting team will face off against two of its biggest rivals this summer.
"A series against India, an Ashes, a World Cup and a Commonwealth Games represents an enormous challenge for the Australians, but Meg Lanning's squad has proven time and again that they thrive in the most competitive of environments."
CA has considered quarantine periods for all international series into its 2021-22 fixture in line with current guidelines. (ANI)