T20Is, England-Australia bilaterals dominate India's FTP

While the BCCI has been trying hard to have its own international home season between September-November involving series against big teams, it hasn’t been possible in the FTP.

Published: 17th August 2022 10:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2022 10:22 PM   |  A+A-

Indian cricket team singing the national anthem at the beginning of their first ODI match against West Indies. (Photo | Twitter, BCCI)

Indian cricket team. (Photo | Twitter, BCCI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Even as more and more current and former players have been calling for a cut down of bilateral series, the new Future Tours Programme (FTP) released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for 2023-27 only sees an increase in the number of matches. Even though domestic T20 leagues are sprouting across the globe, the bilateral series continue to occupy a major chunk of the calendar.

To give a clear context the 12 full members will play 777 matches — 173 Tests, 281 ODIs and 323 T20Is — from 2023-27 as against the 694 they will play when the current cycle ends in 2023. And as expected, it is India (38), England (43) and Australia (40) who will feature in the most number of Test matches, and are part of the three marquee contests in the World Test Championship cycle, which will all be five-match series.

Out of the 38 Tests that India play, 20 are against England and Australia – 10 at home and 10 away. The remaining 18 will be against New Zealand (twice), Bangladesh (once), West Indies (twice), South Africa (twice), Sri Lanka (once). Barring the only series against the Black Caps at home in October 2024, all of these series will be a two-match affair. The Freedom Trophy for the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy which was given a marquee tag in the last two cycles and was played as a three and four-match series has been reduced to only two Tests. India will also play Afghanistan in a one-off Test at home in June 2026, but it will not be part of the WTC cycle.

With regards to England and Australia – two teams that India face the most across all formats – none of the series will be full-fledged. Instead, the Test series will be played separately and the limited-overs are slotted for an alternate season so that these teams face each other at least once every season in limited-overs or in Tests. For example, India will host England for a Test series in January-February 2024, but the limited-overs will be played only in January 2025.  It is similar with Australia and in away tours to these countries.

While the BCCI has been trying hard to have its own international home season between September-November involving series against big teams, it hasn’t been possible in the FTP. India play Bangladesh and New Zealand in 2024, West Indies and South Africa in 2025, West Indies in 2026. Instead, it is January-February, which sees maximum action with series against England, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka between 2024-27.

The BCCI has also got an extended window for the Indian Premier League beginning March end to May. However, the last week of May sees quite a few international series slotted for England, West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand at different periods meaning the IPL could especially have an early finish in 2024 season.

In terms of bilateral limited-overs, India are scheduled to play not more than three matches in any of the ODIs. Only South Africa with 39 ODIs will play fewer ODIs than India’s 42.

However, in T20Is they have amongst the busiest schedules and will play 61 bilateral matches, the second most behind West Indies. They will play as many as eight five-match T20Is against Australia (home), England (home), Australia (away),  South Africa (home), New Zealand (home), England (away), West Indies (home), New Zealand (away). The remaining seven series, including three away against Afghanistan are three-match series.



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