Cricket Australia's plan to revive its second XI competition hinges on border restrictions but ACT officials are working to lock in fixtures to allow the region's best to earn a Comets cap.
Cricket ACT will again work with their NSW counterparts to form the ACT/NSW Country Comets this season, with squads to be made up of Canberra-based players and Sydneysiders hailing from regional areas.
Officials are hoping to play four four-day matches and a week of Twenty20 games against state second XIs this summer.
The national Second XI competition was scrapped last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which Cricket ACT high performance general manager Josh O'Brien says "really left a hole" for players on the fringe of domestic contracts.
Border and quarantine situations will have a major bearing on where the association sends the team to play. The original fixture had the Comets down to play Western Australia, but officials concede that may be hard to orchestrate, adding NSW and Victoria are "the easy two to get to".
Though ACT officials are keen for the Comets to play games against the likes of Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania should the opportunity arise.
"A lack of Second XI cricket last year probably hurt all those guys on the fringe of getting a contract, not getting an opportunity to show their stuff to states that have got Shield, one-day and Big Bash clubs," O'Brien said.
"It really left a hole. A big opportunity this year to get back in front of those states and show what they've got and hopefully pick up contracts.
"There's a bit of uncertainty, like everything. We don't really know our fixtures yet, largely left to states to organise amongst themselves when they're free to travel and willing to take on any risk and that kind of thing.
"It's probably unlikely that the Comets will have any games until after the new year. We notionally agreed with Victoria and NSW that we will get together in December and try to map out what it might look like to play each other.
"That's the way we're tracking, probably in the new year we'll start having games for the Second XI. We're looking at four four-day games and a week of Twenty20 matches if we can possibly get that on.
"It largely depends on what our other states are looking like come January. Once they all get into Big Bash, the calendar gets a bit full so we just have to navigate that as best as we can. It looks like it'll be a busy second half of the year in the Second XI space at least."
Cricket Australia officials are aiming to revive the country championships, likely to be in April, after that tournament was cancelled last summer.
The ACT will field its own team in the tournament, ensuring the squad will be filled by Canberra-based players.
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