The holiday’s over and from today, Australia’s top female players will officially embark on Mission: 2019-20.
The Australians have had a chance to mentally and physically refresh over the last six weeks after a hectic summer – with Megan Schutt’s wedding, new puppies and overseas travel among the highlights of a well-deserved break – but now, the players begin turning their thoughts to what promises to be their busiest ever year.
Between now and next April, Australia will contest an away Ashes series in July, travel to the West Indies for limited-overs matches in September, host Sri Lanka later the same month, and participate in the first standalone edition of the Rebel WBBL from October to December.
Then, they meet India and England in a T20 tri-series before defending their T20 World Cup title on home soil in February and March next year, all before one final limited-overs tour to South Africa.
It’s a demanding schedule that will test the endurance of the world’s top-ranked team, but it’s also a chance for the Australians to continue the success that saw them win 17 of 18 matches played across a golden 2018-19 summer.
Australia’s Ashes preparations will see players in contention for selection take part in camps at Brisbane’s Bupa National Cricket Centre from May 13-31, while the Ashes squad will take part in several warm-up matches at the NCC in mid-June ahead of their departure for the UK.
“We’ll have a couple of targeted camps and as we’ve done over the last couple of years, we’ll also trust they’ll be able to do their preparation (with their state squads),” Australia coach Matthew Mott said.
“That’s a part of our set-up that’s really improved over the last few years, they’re so well serviced now.”
Given the Australians could spend more than 150 days on the road for international playing commitments between now and the end of the South African tour next April, team staff are also keen to make sure the players spend time at home when possible over the next two months.
“Having the players being able to be able to be in their own beds and train (at home) is key, just for that mental aspect of being in your own bed a little more often.
“And if players do want to come up to the NCC for smaller stints in and around that, we’ll be able to do that as well.”
And after six weeks of leave, Mott expects his players to return refreshed and ready for the task ahead.
“It’s worked out really well, the players can totally switch off for a few weeks,” Mott said.
“We ask them to keep ticking over fitness-wise, as you’d expect, but to not see a cricket ball or a bat for a few weeks and then gradually build up, and then we’ve got plenty of time to get ready.
“We’ve got some camps in May and they can make that their focus which is perfect, really, in the long run.”
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
First ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 2
Second ODI Grace Road, Leicester, July 4
Third ODI St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, July 7
First T20 County Ground, Chelmsford, July 26
Second T20 The County Ground, Hove, July 28
Third T20 Bristol County Ground, Bristol, July 31