The domestic cricket season will run in to April but David Warner won’t be a part of the early games

David Warner might not set foot on a cricket field again until March after being left out of the NSW team for the first games on the revised Sheffield Shield and domestic one day cup fixtures.

The postponement of the Test tour of South Africa means the biggest names in the game are available for a reduced number of matches which will culminate with the Shield final on starting on April 15.

The domestic one-day competition has been reduced to five games each plus the final and the Sheffield Shield restricted to a total of eight rounds plus the final, down from the usual 10 rounds per season.

Cricket Australia, the players‘ union and the states and territories agreed to reduce the number of matches to minimise “the extraordinary demands” placed on players, coaches and officials this season, most of whom have been in a bio-secure environment of some kind for the past four months.

Victoria still has the fullest schedule, with six Shield games to complete after only playing two before Christmas when all games were played in an Adelaide hub.

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The Vics will play NSW three times in the space of a week from 10 days, starting with the first domestic one-day games followed by two consecutive Shield games.

Test stars Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon will play in the opening game one-day game in a NSW team to be captained by Pat Cummins.

Warner, however, is unlikely to be available for any of those early games, with NSW officials putting the opener on ice to aid his recovery from a groin injury which interrupted and then impacted his Test summer against India.

He played just two of the four Tests and was hampered by the issue, failing to pass 50 in four innings.

NSW physiotherapist, Kieran Thoms, said while Warner, who was picked din the Test squad to tour South Africa despite the lingering issue, wasn’t ready to play in either of the opening one-day or Sheffield Shield matches.

“David Warner is unavailable as we look to optimise his recovery from a recent serious groin injury,” Thoms said.

Queensland and NSW will both play five more Shield games, while the remaining three states will all play four.

Every state will also get home games, with WA to play at the WACA, given the cricket season will cut across the start of both the AFL and NRL seasons.

The newly revamped Ian Healy Oval will also become the 12th venue in Queensland to host a first class match, having enjoyed a recent multimillion-dollar upgrade.

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All fixtures could yet be changed should new border restrictions come in to play.

“Every person across Australian Cricket has worked incredibly hard to deliver this summer of cricket and should be proud of those efforts,” Drew Ginn, Cricket Australia’s High Performance manager, said.

“As has been the case throughout the summer, we will need to remain agile and responsive given the public health situation across the country. The health and wellbeing of players, officials and staff remains the top priority.”

Every game of the one-day cup will be streamed live and free on Kayo Sports, while 12 of the 16 matches will also be shown on Fox Cricket, including the final.

The one-day final will be played on April 11, with games to e played before and after teams meet in Sheffield Shield games.

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