The Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) match between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Sydney Thunder in Burnie, Tasmania, 2019 (AAP Image/Grant Wells)
Cricket Australia will shift the opening fortnight of the Women's Big Bash to Tasmania as it continues to tinker with the summer's schedule amid COVID-19 outbreaks.
A year after establishing bio-secure hubs in Sydney, WBBL organisers confirmed on Thursday the tournament would return to a similar set up in Hobart and Launceston.
The first 20 matches of the tournament will be played in the two cities, with three others scheduled for the opening fortnight pushed back to later in the competition.
Crucially, no cricket will be played on Blundstone Arena after November 20, leaving the door open for the in-doubt one-off men's Test between Australia and Afghanistan to go ahead.
Given the current virus outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne, where half of the WBBL teams are based, it appears inevitable that most players will spend the majority of the season on the road.
The move to Hobart does at least offer flexibility for the latter stages of the tournament, given all states still have their borders open with Tasmania.
"Following on from us hosting the first of the KFC BBL hubs last year, we know this is something we can do, and do well," Cricket Tasmania CEO Dominic Baker said.
Under the revised schedule, the tournament will still begin on October 14, with the opening match between the Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars to now be staged at Blundstone Arena.
Players based in Melbourne, Sydney and the ACT will also be forced to head south early in a bid to complete two weeks' quarantine.
It comes after CA last week pushed back the start of the WNCL to after the WBBL, while the start of the men's Sheffield Shield and one-day cup has also been altered.
Victoria and NSW are still yet to learn how they will start their seasons in those competitions, while South Australia and Western Australia commence the domestic season with a one-day match next Wednesday.
© AAP 2021