The Twenty20 Big Bash League will take on Test cricket this summer, with the Melbourne Stars to meet the Brisbane Heat at the same time Australia are scheduled to play Sri Lanka at the ‘Gabba.
All eight sides will play each other both home and away in the 2018/19 campaign, upping the regular season matches from 40 to 56.
The season, which will run for just under two months, also features eight double headers, including one on Christmas Eve, and a triple header.
Sports fans will be spoiled for choice on January 27, with day four of the Gabba’s day-night Test to clash with the battle between the Stars and the Heat.
On the same night is the men’s singles final at the Australian Open.
Big Bash League boss Kim McConnie said on Wednesday that more matches would mean more excitement for fans.
“The objective of moving the BBL to a full home and away fixture is consistent with Cricket Australia’s strategy of growing the Big Bash and becoming number one for fans across Australia,” she said.
“With more games, in more locations, we believe this is going to be one of the most exciting, action-packed BBL seasons to date.
“This summer, there will be 56 regular season matches, up from 40 last season, meaning each of the eight teams will play each other twice in addition to the two semi-finals and the final.
“The season will extend past school holidays, so as the competition moves into February, there will be more family-friendly timeslots on weekends to help drive participation.”
The success or failure of Christmas Eve cricket will be of particular interest to Cricket Australia, who are reportedly investigating the possibility of playing a game on Christmas Day in 2019.
Television ratings are likely to be very high on Christmas Eve as the Hobart Hurricanes host the Melbourne Stars before Sydney Thunder and the Sydney Sixers do battle in a cross-town derby.
The 2018/19 season will be the first with new television partners, with the Seven Network and Fox Sports taking over from Network Ten.
Fox Sports will broadcast all 59 matches, while Seven will show 43.
A new addition to the fixture is matches on the Gold Coast, with Metricon Stadium to host three clashes.
The main venue of the 2018 Commonwealth Games will also stage a Twenty20 international between Australia and South Africa this year.
Launceston will stage two Hobart Hurricanes fixtures in 2018/19, while Alice Springs gets a game again.
Once each side has played 14 matches, the top four will make the finals, which remain clashes that will see the loser eliminated from the competition.