Cricket Australia will take the unprecedented step of playing a Sheffield Shield game overseas to help the Test side prepare for a series in New Zealand.
The South Island town of Lincoln – just outside of Christchurch – will host a first-class match between NSW and Western Australia next year, starting on February 3, according to the full 2015-16 schedule released on Thursday.
CA shifted the fixture overseas instead of scheduling a tour game prior to the two-Test series in New Zealand, which starts on February 12.
The majority of Test players not involved in the one-day series against the Black Caps are likely to feature in the Shield game.
“If we were to schedule a warm-up game, it would have to happen in parallel with the Chappell-Hadlee (one-day series) … and Sheffield Shield,” high-performance manager Pat Howard said.
“That would obviously have a negative impact on the Shield because we’d have to pull extra players out of that competition.
“Therefore we thought bringing a Shield match, involving a number of international players, to New Zealand was a different option that gives us some strong preparation in local conditions.”
The other two Shield games in round six will be played on the east coast of Australia.
“Obviously we can’t cater for everyone in that scenario, and a number of our Test players will be playing in the Chappell-Hadlee series,” Howard said.
The Shield has been running since 1892-93 and there has never been a fixture played outside Australia.
Meanwhile, Australia Day cricket will return to Adelaide Oval next year after it lost the fixture to Sydney in 2015.
One of three Twenty20 clashes with India will be played in the South Australian capital on January 26.
It follows the announcement that Adelaide Oval will host the first-ever international day/night Test later this year.
T20 international cricket also returns to the SCG for the first time since 2010 as part of a new deal with the historic venue, adding to the Test and any ODI matches already scheduled.
It means there will be no more international fixtures at ANZ Stadium for at least the next seven years.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2015-2016 SUMMER SCHEDULE
* Australia Day fixture returns Adelaide Oval, which will also host the first ever day-night Test match – against New Zealand – from Nov 27-Dec 1
* There’ll be a day-night round of Sheffield Shield with matches in Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart from Oct 27-30 ahead of first international day-night Test
* Lincoln in NZ and Coffs Harbour to host Sheffield Shield matches
* Domestic One-Day Cup to be hosted exclusively in Sydney from Oct 5-26
* Big Bash League starts Thursday Dec 17
* Inaugural Women’s Big Bash League to start Dec 5