CRICKET Australia has listened to the fans with this season’s Big Bash League more family friendly than ever before.

The fixtures for the 2020-21 campaign were released this week, with the competition set to begin earlier than in any other season.

There will also be more games in prime-time slots with the regular season also set to wrap up before Australia Day on January 26.

The BBL will begin its 10th campaign on December 3. There is also a return to the five-team finals, with the tournament decider set for February 6.

The competition will kick off with the Adelaide Strikers playing hosts to the Melbourne Renegades at Adelaide Oval.

That is the same day as the start of the first Test of the summer against India at the Gabba.

The BBL will continue for eight nights before a five-day break for Australia’s day-night Test with India on December 11-15.

Season 10 will have an extra 11 games scheduled for prime-time viewing in Australia, with Channel 7 providing coverage of 40 regular-season games free-to-air.

Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports via cricket.com.au and the CA Live app will broadcast all 56 regular season games plus finals.

There will be further changes to the new season which will be announced soon.

Innovations are expected to include a draft system for overseas stars, while other changes could see bonus points, free hits for wides, substitutions and splitting powerplays.

CA’s Head of the Big Bash Leagues, Alastair Dobson, told Cricket.com.au it was important that there was flexibility because of the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Scheduling in the time of coronavirus is not without its challenges, as we have seen in elite sporting conditions at home and abroad, and there are factors outside the league itself which could impact the fixture at a later date,” Dobson said.

“That said, at this time, we are happy with the fixture as it stands and excited to celebrate a decade of Big Bash with Australian fans during the summer.

“It should ensure that more BBL matches are played in prime time and enable the regular season to again finish inside the school holidays, which was a key objective, particularly in light of the busy international schedule planned for the coming summer.”

The world’s top women’s T20 players will also get more coverage, with the 2020-21 Women’s Big Bash League season six scheduled to start in October.

Fixtures released by Cricket Australia show that all teams have been scheduled to play in their home cities but that is all subject to the continued threat of coronavirus.

The competition is set to begin on the weekend of October 17-18 with matches in Brisbane and Perth, with a repeat of last year’s final between champions Brisbane Heat and Adelaide Strikers, the main attraction.

The regular season is set to be completed in Melbourne on November 21-22, and finals played from November 27-29.

The season will also include a three-week Sydney hub for all eight teams.

This has been set out to allow the competition to cope with the uncertainties around travel and border restrictions amid the pandemic.

North Sydney Oval, Blacktown International Sports Park and Hurstville Oval will all host matches during the Sydney hub.

Most matches in WBBL 06 will take place on weekends. Channel 7 and Fox Sports in Australia will televise 26 games and the remaining 33 games live streamed on the CA Live app and cricket.com.au. All matches will be streamed on Kayo Sports.

“Our clubs should be commended for their determination and commitment to delivering a full 59-game season for WBBL|06, along with the commitment shown to the WBBL from our broadcast partners Seven and Foxtel to bring more of the WBBL action live to TV screens across the country than any of the previous five seasons of the competition,” Dobson said.

“The Rebel WBBL is the world’s best cricket league for women and keeps getting better, which was reflected in a 21 per cent increase in multichannel audiences last season.”

Dobson said the fast-changing nature of the pandemic could mean revisions to the schedule in the coming months, and the Sydney hub would provide added flexibility should changes be required.

“By focusing parts of the competition in a central location, it also provides options should the COVID-19 situation affect the flow of the season and we remain vigilant in all aspects of our planning to provide a safe environment for players and staff,” he said.

Cricket Australia should be commended for its continued support of the Big Bash for men and women.

Let us hope the COVID-19 pandemic will allow cricket fans around the world to see the best T20 players on the planet performing.

Hopefully by then crowds will be allowed at venues.

Fingers crossed.

Big Bash League 2020-21 fixtures 

Dec 3, 2020: Adelaide Strikers vs Melbourne Renegades – Adelaide Oval

Dec 4: Sydney Sixers vs Hobart Hurricanes – SCG

Dec 5: Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder – MCG

Dec 6: Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Sixers – OPTUS Stadium

Dec 7: Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Renegades – Blundstone Arena

Dec 8: Sydney Thunder vs Perth Scorchers – Sydney Showgrounds

Dec 9: Brisbane Heat vs Sydney Sixers – Metricon Stadium

Dec 10: Melbourne Renegades vs Adelaide Strikers – Marvel Stadium

Dec 16: Hobart Hurricanes vs Perth Scorchers – UTA Stadium

Dec 17: Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Stars – GABBA

Dec 18: Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Thunder – Adelaide Oval

Dec 19: Sydney Sixers vs Melbourne Renegades – SCG

Dec 19: Perth Scorchers vs Brisbane Heat – OPTUS Stadium

Dec 20: Melbourne Stars vs Adelaide Strikers – Citipower Centre

Dec 20: Sydney Thunder vs Hobart Hurricanes – Sydney Showgrounds

Dec 21: Melbourne Renegades vs Perth Scorchers – Marvel Stadium

Dec 22: Adelaide Strikers vs Sydney Sixers, Adelaide Oval

Dec 23: Brisbane Heat vs Melbourne Renegades – GABBA

Dec 24: Hobart Hurricanes vs Melbourne Stars – Blundstone Arena

Dec 26: Perth Scorchers vs Adelaide Strikers – OPTUS Stadium

Dec 27: Sydney Sixers vs Melbourne Stars – SCG

Dec 28: Sydney Thunder vs Adelaide Strikers – Sydney Showgrounds

Dec 29: Melbourne Renegades vs Brisbane Heat – Marvel Stadium

Dec 30: Melbourne Stars vs Perth Scorchers – Metricon Stadium

Dec 31: Adelaide Strikers vs Hobart Hurricanes – Adelaide Oval

Jan 1, 2021: Brisbane Heat vs Sydney Thunder – GABBA

Jan 2: Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Sixers – Blundstone Arena

Jan 2: Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Renegades – OPTUS Stadium

Jan 3: Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Stars – Manuka Stadium

Jan 4: Sydney Sixers vs Brisbane Heat – CEX COFFS Stadium

Jan 5: Melbourne Renegades vs Sydney Thunder – Marvel Stadium

Jan 6: Perth Scorchers vs Hobart Hurricanes – OPTUS Stadium

Jan 7: Melbourne Stars, Sydney Sixers – MCG

Jan 8: Adelaide Strikers vs Brisbane Heat – Adelaide Oval

Jan 9: Sydney Thunder vs Sydney Sixers – Sydney Showgrounds

Jan 9: Brisbane Heat vs Perth Scorchers – GABBA

Jan 10: Hobart Hurricanes vs Adelaide Strikers – Blundstone Arena

Jan 10: Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades – Marvel Stadium

Jan 11: Sydney Sixers vs Perth Scorchers – SCG

Jan 13: Sydney Thunder vs Brisbane Heat – Manuka Oval

Jan 14: Perth Scorchers vs Melbourne Stars – OPTUS Stadium

Jan 15: Brisbane Heat vs Hobart Hurricanes – Metricon Stadium

Jan 16: Melbourne Renegades vs Melbourne Stars – Marvel Stadium

Jan 17: Hobart Hurricanes vs Sydney Thunder – Blundstone Arena

Jan 18: Melbourne Stars vs Brisbane Heat – MCG

Jan 19: Sydney Sixers vs Adelaide Strikers – SCG

Jan 20: Sydney Thunder vs Melbourne Renegades – Sydney Showgrounds

Jan 21: Hobart Hurricanes vs Brisbane Heat – UTAS Stadium

Jan 22: Adelaide Strikers vs Melbourne Stars – Adelaide Oval

Jan 23: Melbourne Renegades vs Sydney Sixers – GMHBA Stadium

Jan 23: Perth Scorchers vs Sydney Thunder – OPTUS Stadium

Jan 24: Melbourne Stars vs Hobart Hurricanes – MCG

Jan 25: Sydney Sixers vs Sydney Thunder -SCG

Jan 26: Brisbane Heat vs Adelaide Strikers – GABBA

The Eliminator (TBC), The Qualifier (TBC), The Knockout (TBC), The Challenger (TBC)

The Final: February 6