Uncertain pre-Ashes schedule for Aussies

·2-min read

Usman Khawaja is ready for a summer of cricket that "might even be more fluid" than 2020-21 amid more scheduling uncertainty created by COVID-19.

Australia's domestic season, slated to start next week, remains in a state of flux as Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) sort through how best to rejig the calendar because of border closures.

The current schedule features five Sheffield Shield rounds before Australia's one-off Test against Afghanistan, which would ensure Khawaja and other Test aspirants have ample opportunity to make their case for inclusion in an unsettled XI.

The Shield season is due to begin on September 28 but movement between the six states is unlikely to be free by then.

Khawaja believes a repeat of last year's Shield hub in Adelaide is not on the cards but acknowledged "it's too hard to plan for anything right now".

Several England players have cast doubt on touring Australia because of concerns about family gaining entry, although CA is confident it will broker a solution.

The Taliban has indicated it wants Afghanistan's Test in Hobart to proceed but that fixture remains clouded by several factors.

CA has already shifted this month's Australia-India women's series to Queensland.

Khawaja, appointed Sydney Thunder skipper after the BBL club failed to offer Callum Ferguson a new deal, says he and fellow players must prepare for more bubble fatigue and limited structure in coming months.

"This season might even be more fluid than last season," Khawaja told reporters.

"We just have to try to stay ready.

"It takes a bit more of a mental toll, last year definitely took a mental toll on the boys.

"We were playing all the way to April for that Shield final. The longest season we've ever had.

"There is bubble fatigue. You just have to accept it ... we're grateful every time we're playing cricket."

Both sides' preparation for the Ashes was already complicated by the preceding Twenty20 World Cup, and fact they must serve a 14-day quarantine period upon arriving in Australia.

Khawaja, who captained Queensland to the 2020-21 Shield title, admitted it was important Test players play some red-ball cricket before facing international opposition.

"But ... you have to be adaptable. We're not sure how many games we're going to be able to play before that Test series," he said.

"It's the same for everyone. No one's really spared.

"What can you do?"

The 34-year-old, overlooked by national selectors since being dumped during the 2019 Ashes, reiterated his desire to play for Australia but added looking too far ahead "never works out well".

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting