After reaching an agreement with broadcasters, Cricket Australia said on Friday that the league will be reduced to 10 games per club a year sooner than intended.
The Big Bash League, Australia's main Twenty20 cricket competition, is being trimmed once more in an attempt to offset accusations that the schedule is too long.
Cricket Australia said on Friday that the league will be reduced to 10 games per franchise a year sooner than intended after reaching an agreement with broadcasters, confirming that the reduction from 56 to 40 regular-season games will take effect this season.
The playoffs will also be changed, with four clubs qualifying instead of five, and a four-match finals format still to be defined. The tournament schedule is likely to be released in July, with matches beginning in December.
The decrease in men's matches returns the tournament to 2017-18, when the eight-team Big Bash was at its peak.
Because of the shorter competition schedule, the season should be completed fully within the Christmas school vacations. It would also guarantee that marquee overseas players are available for a higher percentage of matches, as well as offering Australia's white-ball stars a better opportunity of playing all matches.
Cricket Australia originally expressed a wish to reduce the competition during TV discussions last summer, with modifications scheduled for 2024-25.
Both local broadcasters, Foxtel and Seven, were willing to make the shift sooner, but a number of agreements with club sponsors and changes to venue arrangements were required.
"A shortened BBL will allow us greater flexibility to ensure we can deliver the best possible fixture for clubs and fans," said BBL general manager Alistair Dobson.