Cricket Australia has announced the fixtures for its upcoming Big Bash tournaments keeping into account coronavirus contingencies. While the Women Big Bash League (WBBL) starts from October 17, the 10th season of men’s BBL gets underway from December 3 coinciding with India’s tour of Australia.

While there have been no changes with regards to the number of matches, the length of BBL has been extended to over 60 days with the season kickstarting two weeks earlier than its last iteration. Most of the 56 matches will be played in the evening with just eight double headers scheduled.

The final will be played on February 6.

On the other hand, the sixth WBBL will feature 59 matches with the final slated for November 29. There will be a three-week hub in Sydney for all eight teams keeping in mind the safety measures taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

“While we know that the challenging, fast-changing coronavirus pandemic could ultimately mean revisions to the schedule, there is nonetheless a lot to like about the way both competitions are shaping up,” Alistair Dobson, the head of Big Bash League, said on Wednesday. “It is our sincere hope that the WBBL|06 and BBL|10 will go some way towards lifting the spirits of, and restoring a sense of normality to, the nation.

The number of WBBL matches to be shown live on TV has been increased from 23 to 26 while the rest can be streamed online.

“The League is pleased to have delivered a fixture that includes matches in each club’s home market while also reducing the overall travel burden on clubs. By focusing parts of the competition in a central location (Sydney), it also provides optionality 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,” Dobson said.

“As with all sporting competitions around the world, we must remain vigilant and agile in responding to the Covid-19 situation as it develops and we will continue to work with all relevant federal and state government agencies, biosecurity experts, venues, clubs, players, broadcast partners and our own internal teams to ensure a safe and successful summer,” he added.