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Gruelling international schedule for Aussies

Published: Friday, May 20, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Melbourne:Australia's world champion cricketers are locked into an exhaustive 17-Test match schedule over the next 11 months following the release of the summer season fixtures by Cricket Australia (CA).

Apart from the heavy Test program, the Australians will play up to 37 One-day Internationals across four continents against England, Bangladesh, a Rest of the World side, South Africa, the West Indies, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

Ricky Ponting's side will also dabble in the Twenty20 format with matches against England at the start of the June-September Ashes tour and, for the first time in Australia, against South Africa in Brisbane next January.

The playing schedule for the 2005-2006 southern summer includes three Tests against the West Indies, three against South Africa and a week in New Zealand for three Chappell-Hadlee Trophy One-dayers.

With Sri Lanka to replace the West Indies for the triangular One-day series, the Australian international summer will comprise 58 days of cricket if all matches and series go the distance.

CA chief executive James Sutherland said the schedule was not overcrowded.

"We don't see that that's a problem," he told a press conference to announce the season itinerary.

The three-month tour of England, starting early next month, is just the start of Australia's long haul but coach John Buchanan said constant cricket was much better for players' fitness than stopping and re-starting, where players were more susceptible to injury.

However, Buchanan said part of the side's build-up to the traditional Ashes tour was based on not thinking about the game, which was just as important as analysing England on video.

"One of the most beneficial planning tools has been not to think about it too much either," he said.

"It was important that once we finished (touring) New Zealand it was time to hang up the boots literally and get away from the game, so when we did come back to the game it was new and fresh and we were ready."

With England, in-form Australia is looking forward to an exciting, tough contest.

"The players really want to be tested by a tough opposition, which we have been at certain times but maybe not tested over a whole series," Buchanan said.

Australia fast bowler Michael Kasprowicz said he relished the chance of more cricket.

"I would prefer to play every game of cricket for Australia that I can," said Kasprowicz, whose pre-Ashes build-up has comprised cross-training, boxing and cycling.

"If there's more games then I'd certainly look forward to it."

Summer fixtures of Australia:

Johnnie Walker Super Series

October 5 - 1st ODI Australia Vs Rest of the World, Docklands stadium, Melbourne

Oct 7 - 2nd ODI Australia Vs Rest of the World, Docklands stadium, Melbourne

Oct 9 - 3rd ODI Australia Vs Rest of the World, Docklands stadium, Melbourne

Oct 14-19 Test Australia Vs Rest of the World, Sydney Cricket Ground

Tests

November 3-7 1st Test Australia Vs West Indies, Gabba, Brisbane

Nov 17-21 2nd Test Australia Vs West Indies, Bellerive, Hobart

Nov 25-29 3rd Test Australia Vs West Indies, Adelaide Oval

December 16-20 1st Test Australia Vs South Africa, WACA, Perth

Dec 26-30 2nd Test Australia Vs South Africa, Melbourne Cricket Ground

January 2-6 3rd Test Australia Vs South Africa, Sydney Cricket Ground

Chappell Hadlee One-day Trophy

Dec 3-10 - Three ODIs New Zealand Vs Australia all in New Zealand

Twenty20 match

January 9 - Australia Vs South Africa, Gabba, Brisbane

VB Triangular One-day Series

Jan 13 - Australia Vs Sri Lanka, Docklands stadium, Melbourne

Jan 15 - Australia Vs South Africa, Gabba, Brisbane

Jan 17 - South Africa Vs Sri Lanka, Gabba, Brisbane

Jan 20 - Australia Vs South Africa, Docklands stadium, Melbourne

Jan 22 - Australia Vs Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground

Jan 24 - South Africa Vs Sri Lanka, Adelaide Oval

Jan 26 - Australia Vs Sri Lanka, Adelaide Oval

Jan 29 - Australia Vs Sri Lanka, WACA, Perth

Jan 31 - South Africa Vs Sri Lanka, WACA, Perth

Feb 3 - Australia Vs South Africa, Docklands stadium, Melbourne

Feb 5 - Australia Vs South Africa, Sydney Cricket Ground

Feb 7 - South Africa Vs Sri Lanka, Bellerive, Hobart

Feb 10 - First final - Adelaide Oval

Feb 12 - Second final - Sydney Cricket Ground

Feb 14 - Third final - (if required) Gabba, Brisbane

Tour matches

Oct 27-30 Queensland Vs West Indies, Brisbane

Nov 11-13 Victoria Vs West Indies, Melbourne

Dec 11-13 Western Australia Vs South Africa, Perth.

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