• England in Australia 2013-14

Australia confirm Ashes schedule

Daniel Brettig
November 22, 2012 « Kompany a doubt for Chelsea clash | Chartbeat test »
England's Ashes tour of Australia next season will be followed by only five ODIs © PA Photos
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Australia will play the fewest home ODIs in 34 years during the 2013-14 Ashes summer, as Twenty20 takes a more prominent place in the schedule ahead of the tiring 50-over format.

The schedule unveiled by Cricket Australia on Thursday offered the slimmest program of one-day matches since Mike Brearley's England tourists played four ODIs alongside six Tests in 1978-79, the second summer of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket rebellion and the last before commercial television began to dictate a surfeit of limited overs fixtures.

Five Ashes Tests will be followed by five ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals, the most substantial T20I series played in Australia since the format's introduction. Previously Australia have played either one-off matches or two-match series, but the raging popularity of international T20s has forced the addition of an extra match.

England's presence as the sole touring side, the first time since India visited in 1977-78 that only one side has toured Australia in a summer, will also reduce the number of scheduled days of international cricket to 33, significantly down from this summer's 43 days. This will allow more room for the domestic T20 Big Bash League to thrive, with the possible benefit of Australia's players being available for a greater number of matches.

James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, was unconcerned about waning interest in the ODI format ahead of the World Cup.

"Next summer's going to be very much about the Ashes and the program's been designed about that," Sutherland said. "We will play a bit more one-day cricket eh following season, we've got the World Cup at the end of that season, but before then we'll have a couple of series of one-day cricket that are designed to prepare ours guys for the World Cup.

"I don't have any concerns about maintaining the interest in the one-day format. That's there. Would we like greater attendances? Absolutely, but we know that the television ratings and all of our research on the popularity of the one-day format is not a cause for concern."

The England tour will begin with a trio of warm-up fixtures against Western Australia, Australia A and New South Wales. The first Test will take place in Brisbane from November 21 to 25, before the series moves on to Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

October 31-November 2 Western Australia XI v England, WACA
November 6-9 Australia A v England, Bellerive Oval, Hobart
November 13-16 New South Wales XI v England, SCG

November 21-25 Australia v England, 1st Test, Gabba

November 29-30 CA Chairman's XI v England, Manuka Oval, Canberra

December 5-9 Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide Oval
December 13-17 Australia v England, 3rd Test, WACA
December 26-30 Australia v England, 4th Test, MCG
January 3-7 Australia v England, 5th Test, SCG

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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