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Cricket dealing with loaded schedule

Usman Khawaja has steered Australia to a comfortable nine-wicket win over Ireland in South Africa.
Cricket dealing with loaded schedule
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Usman Khawaja has aired concerns about a helter-skelter cricket schedule that features a single day off between the one-day cup final and Sheffield Shield opener.

Khawaja will captain Queensland in Sunday's one-day decider at North Sydney Oval then don the whites on Tuesday, when the Bulls face NSW in a star-studded Gabba clash.

The MCG and WACA will also host day-night Shield games next week. The pink-ball matches represent the only chance for Australia's stars to have a first-class hit or bowl before the first Test against South Africa starts in Perth on November 3.

"It would have been nicer for Matador Cup or the Shield game (dates to be different) - or however they did it for us to get a couple of Shield games in before the Test series," Khawaja said.

"One is nice but two is even better."

Steve Smith, David Warner and Khawaja would have been unavailable for a hypothetical Shield game earlier this month as they were in South Africa for a one-day series.

"I'm not convinced about the timing (of that one-day tour) ... it was a random time," Khawaja said.

"I found it really bizarre that we played that one-day series before a big Test series.

"That's how international cricket is going these days. There is no break."

Cricket Australia high-performance guru Pat Howard admitted that in an ideal world the Test squad would play two Shield games to prepare for the Proteas.

"The schedule is the greatest complexity in the game and it remains a challenge," Howard told AAP.

"The winters are very, very full and there's a lot of cricket played. Prior to playing the (2013/14) Ashes we went to India for one-dayers and it'll be the same with next year's Ashes.

"Mitchell Johnson went to India last time. We pulled him out with a game or two to go and he was man of the series, so playing at international level has benefits.

"You've got to play the games somewhere and at some time ... it (the ODI series in South Africa) had to be played."

Regarding the tight domestic turnaround, Howard noted it was necessary to ensure the Test squad could play a Shield game before a jam-packed international 2016/17 season starts.

"In an ideal world you'd have two but making sure we have one (Shield game) is important," Howard said.

"We've had to move the first round of Shield back (to achieve that) ... it's never perfect, never ideal."

Khawaja suggested it was important he and other players "get on with it", a mantra the 29-year-old also applied to the fact next week's Shield clash will feature a pink Kookaburra ball.

"It's not ideal but we're going to have to play a couple of pink-ball Test matches this year, so might as well get through it," Khawaja said.

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