The entire 59-game WBBL season will be held in Sydney, starting on October 25, to enable the competition to go ahead amid the challenges created by Covid-19.
Sydney had already been scheduled to host a three-week hub during the competition – with matches at North Sydney Oval, Hurstville Oval and Blacktown International Sports Park – but ongoing travel and border restrictions around Australia has required it to be moved to one city throughout.
The WBBL becomes the first part of the Australian domestic season to be reworked and slotted into place. Fixtures, venues and broadcast times, plus details of biosecure arrangements, will be released in the coming weeks.
Alistair Dobson, the head of Big Bash Leagues, confirmed that work was underway to enable overseas players to take part in the tournament.
“We want to thank the NSW Government for their willingness to work together to deliver the WBBL|06 competition in Sydney,” Dobson said.
“We are incredibly proud to deliver a full season of rebel WBBL|06 and would like to thank the NSW Government, our partners States & Territories Associations, the Australian Cricketers’ Association as well as – in particular Cricket NSW – for rallying together at this challenging time to deliver a safe and successful tournament.
“We can achieve great things together and the spirit of cooperation has been truly uplifting. Thanks must also go to our broadcasters, partners, players and staff for their outstanding support as we navigate what has been a challenging period.”
Jess Jonassen, the Australia allrounder who will captain defending champions the Brisbane Heat as they look for a hat-trick of titles, said the players were ready to adapt to the challenges of the season.
“Now there’s that little bit of clarity around what the season is going to look like, everyone is able to prepare for that,” she said. “I think everyone is just really excited to get out on the field and start playing some cricket again.
“The fact that it has to be in a hub and in Sydney, it’s not too big a deal for a lot of us. Particularly for us Australian players, it feels like another tour. There’s obviously going to be a lot of challenges along the way, it’s not going to be easy but everyone is looking forward to it.”
The Australian season will begin later this month when the New Zealand Women play three T20Is and three ODIs, the first international sport in the country since the pandemic took hold, and Dobson hopes the game can pick up from where it left off with the T20 World Cup final at the MCG on March 8.
“The ICC Women’s World Cup Final will forever be an iconic moment in our game’s history, and we are committed to carrying that momentum into the season ahead,” Dobson said. “The likes of Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt and Beth Mooney have become household names in Australia and it will be brilliant watching them showcasing their talent and skills for their respective clubs this summer.
“Meg and Beth are among those to change clubs in the off-season, adding another dimension of excitement and expectation to the league.
“We will also be working closely with Australian and State governments to allow top-quality international players to enter our borders and join our clubs.”