SUMMER has just about reached the Southern Hemisphere, and that means the Australian cricket season is upon us.
Let’s take a look at all the major domestic and international fixtures coming to Aussie shores over the next few months, along with some of the futures odds from our top-ranked cricket betting sites.
2015 Trans-Tasman Trophy
In decades past, a New Zealand tour of Australia was often viewed as a down year – a breather for the Aussies as they prepared for the Ashes.
This time, it’s a battle between the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup finalists.
The Trans-Tasman Trophy hasn’t been played since 2011-12, when the Kiwis managed to draw the series away from home.
Can Steve Smith hold down the fort in his first series as captain of Australia, or will Brendon McCullum’s Black Caps justify their billing as the most exciting team in world cricket?
It’s hard to get a read on the new-look Baggy Greens right now, after their tour of Bangladesh was called off for security reasons, but Sportsbet.com has them as $1.40 frontrunners to win the series outright.
The first Test will kick off on November 5 at Brisbane, followed by bouts in Perth (November 13-16) and Adelaide (November 27-30).
Australia vs New Zealand series odds at Sportsbet
Australia to win – $1.40
New Zealand to win – $4.50
Draw – $6.50
2015-16 Frank Worrell Trophy
The West Indies will pick up where New Zealand left off, flying over for three Test matches in December and January.
The Australians made minced meat of the Windies on their pre-Ashes tour of the Caribbean earlier this year, winning both Tests in very comfortable fashion.
Cricket Australia and the sporting public in general will be hoping for a far better contest this time, especially as the West Indian leg of the summer features both the Sydney and Boxing Day Test matches.
But recent records don’t bode well on that score, as Australia have won nine (and drawn one) of their last 10 Test series against WI.
Australia vs West Indies Test fixtures
First Test – December 10-14 at Hobart
Second Test – December 26-30 at Melbourne
Third Test – January 3-6 at Sydney
Australia vs India ODI & T20 series
The top-flight action will continue throughout January 2016 when India head down for what promises to be a cracking pair of limited-overs series.
First up are the One Day Internationals, of which there will be five, followed by a three-game Twenty20 International series.
Australia and India are currently the top two in the ICC team rankings for ODIs, even though the latter side recently suffered a shock series defeat in Bangladesh.
How will the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and MS Dhoni fair against the world champions (and the side which knocked India out of the 2015 CWC, no less)?
Australia vs India fixture list
First ODI – January 12 at Perth
Second ODI – January 15 at Brisbane
Third ODI – January 17 at Melbourne
Fourth ODI – January 20 at Canberra
Fifth ODI – January 23 at Sydney
First T20i – January 26 at Adelaide
Second T20i – January 29 at Melbourne
Third T20i – January 31 at Sydney
2015-16 Twenty20 Big Bash League
Season five of the KFC Big Bash will commence on December 17, with some of world cricket’s biggest names turning out for the eight Aussie franchises.
Jacques Kallis will return for the Sydney Thunder, Kumar Sangakkara will kit up again for the Hobart Hurricanes, and the fearsome West Indian duo of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo will strut their stuff for the Melbourne Renegades.
But can anybody topple the Perth Scorchers, who will be looking to claim their third BBL title on the bounce?
CrownBet.com currently has them at $6.50 to do exactly that, just behind the Hurricanes ($5.50) and the outright favourites, the Melbourne Stars ($5).
This summer will also witness the inaugural edition of the Women’s Big Bash League, featuring some of the finest female limited-overs players from Australia and abroad.
Eight WBBL matches (including the final) will be broadcast on free-to-air TV via the One network, marking a big step in the evolution of women’s cricket in Australia.
KFC Big Bash League futures at CrownBet.com
Melbourne Stars – $5
Hobart Hurricanes – $5.50
Melbourne Renegades, Perth Scorchers – $6.50
Adelaide Strikers – $8
Brisbane Heat, Sydney Sixers, Sydney Thunder – $9
2015 Matador BBQs One-Day Cup
Australia’s 50-over domestic competition has undergone a bit of a revamp for 2015.
Like last year, it will feature 23 matches smashed out over the space of three weeks, with all games played at venues in and around the Sydney suburbs.
But this season will see the addition of a seventh team: the Cricket Australia XI.
Besides creating opportunities for those up-and-comers who didn’t make the state squads, the CA XI will also balance out the fixture list so every team plays each other once prior to the finals.
The tourney kicked off on October 5 in spectacular fashion, with South Australia captain Travis Head blasting 202 off 120 balls as the Redbacks downed Western Australia at Hurstville Oval.
New South Wales and Victoria are the early favourites for this year’s title, ahead of 2014 Matador BBQs One-Day Cup champions Western Australia.
2015 Matador Cup outright betting at Sportsbet.com
NSW Blues – $2.63
Victorian Bushrangers – $3.50
WA Warriors – $5.50
Tasmanian Tigers – $6.50
SA Redbacks – $9
Queensland Bulls – $15
Cricket Australia XI – $167
2015-16 Sheffield Shield
Though it’s taken a back seat to Twenty20 and international cricket in recent times, the Sheffield Shield remains one of the world’s top first-class domestic competitions.
This year will see the four-day fixtures split into two clumps, with eight weeks off from early December to February to make room for the 2015-16 Big Bash League.
Thus, although the season will commence in but a few weeks’ time on October 28, 2015, it won’t wrap until early April, 2016.
Victoria are well liked to go back-to-back and win their 29th Sheffield Shield title, while New South Wales and Western Australia are also tipped to figure in the upper half of the points table.
Upcoming Sheffield Shield fixtures
Oct 28 – Victoria vs Queensland (MCG)
Oct 28 – Tasmania vs Western Australia (Bellerive Oval)
Oct 28 – South Australia vs New South Wales (Adelaide Oval)
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