The Australian Sheffield Shield is first Class Cricket competition of Australia, and takes place every year with every Australian state participating in the tournament. The tournament started in 1892 with only three teams and is one of the best domestic cricket tournaments of the World.
Also see - Sheffield Shield schedule
The Sheffield Shield 2021-22 is the 120th season of the domestic tournament which is scheduled to begin from 24th September 2021. The state team of Queensland will walk into the tournament as the defending champion, with all the matches being streamed live and exclusive on Cricket Australia’s Official Website.
Initially, on 21 July 2021, Cricket Australia confirmed all the fixtures for the tournament. On 8 September 2021, Cricket Australia announced that the previous schedule had been scrapped due to ongoing lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne and subsequent border restrictions. The fixtures for the first two matches were confirmed, with the full revised schedule to be released later.
In the year 1891, the Earl of Sheffield Henry Holroyd came to Australia as a promoter of the English Cricket team, which was led by William Gilbert Grace. Prior to his departure, he presented £150 the New South Wales Cricket Association to fund an Inter-colonial Cricket Tournament, to be held annually in Australia. The winner of the Tournament was presented with a Shield, known as the Sheffield Shield after its benefactor. The Shield was designed by Philip Blashki and has the dimensions of 109 cm x 76 cm, and is a non rotating trophy.
The tournament is played in a Double Round Robin format, where each team plays the other team twice - one at home ground and the other at the opponent’s ground. Therefore, the tournament progresses in 10 rounds, with all the teams playing their matches at the same time. At the end of the tenth round, the top two teams play the final at a neutral venue. All the matches are scheduled for 4 days, except the final which is played for 5 days.
Only three teams, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia played the tournament in 1892. However, Queensland joined the tournament in 1926 and Western Australia joined in 1947, making it a 5-team tournament. With the addition of Tasmania in 1977, the tournament is now played between six teams. Each team is named accordingly with its state name, except Victoria. The other teams are NSW Blues, Queensland Bulls, West End Redbacks, Tasmanian Tigers and Western Warriors.
All the participating teams have lifted the Sheffield Shield at least once, and the 2020-2021 season was won by Queensland. New South Wales has won the most titles (47 times) and are followed by Victoria (32 titles). Darren Lehmann is the most successful batsman in the tournament (12971 runs) and Clarie Grimet is the most successful bowler (513 wickets).