The Indian men's team will play 138 bilateral international matches between May 2023 and April, 2027. (AFP Photo)India-Australia series to become five-Test affair from 2024
The Indian Premier League got bigger last year with the inclusion of two new teams. Now, it's time to get longer as well.
A two-and-a-half month window has been made available for the lucrative franchise league between mid-March to the beginning of June – an increase of 15 days to the existing window. The decision was announced by ICC as part of the Future Tours and Programmes (FTP) cycle from 2023-27.
"The landscape around the game is continuing to evolve and we will work closely with members as we collectively adapt to that," ICC general manager of cricket Wasim Khan said. "We are committed to growing the game and giving more fans more opportunities to enjoy cricket, but are very mindful of the need to balance that ambition with the welfare of players," Khan added.
In 2025, the second half of the Pakistan Super League will clash with IPL due to the cramped schedule and it will be interesting to see how BCCI and PCB find a solution to the problem.
The Indian men's team will play 138 bilateral international matches during this five-year phase between May 2023 to April, 2027. They will take part in 38 Tests, 39 ODIs and 61 T20Is – the rise in the number of T20s a clear indication of the direction where the game is heading. The ODI bilaterals will mostly be three-match series.
Following the success of the last India-Australia series Down Under last year which went to the final session of the final day to produce a winner, it has been decided to make the Border-Gavaskar Trophy a five-Test series. While Australia's next visit to India early next year will be a four-Test series as per the previous cycle, India's next big trip Down Under in December-January, 2024-25 will have five Tests. This will be the first time since 1991 that the two teams will play a five-Test series.
"I think spectators from Australia and India and probably anyone that loved the game around the world would have liked to have seen more Test matches between Australia and India, so it's a fantastic initiative and more importantly, I think all the players will really enjoy that as well," former Australia captain Ricky Ponting told The ICC Review.
This is a very busy cricket calendar, especially if you add two months of IPL every year. True, the willow game is the most watched sport in the country but the BCCI should guard against cricket fatigue among the public. The golden goose needs to be protected, not flogged to death.
The other series featuring India that will continue to be a five-Test affair will be against England, a home series tentatively scheduled for Jan-March in 2024. But much to the disappointment of cricket fans, there are no India-Pakistan Test matches scheduled in this FTP cycle. India, though, will travel to West Indies (July-Aug 2023) for a full series including 2 Tests, ODIs and 3 T20Is. They will also host Bangladesh for a two-Test series in September 2024.
While T20s and Test matches remain the priority, the Indian team will get enough ODI match practice before the 50-over World Cup scheduled in India next year. They will play as many as 27 ODIs before starting with the Zimbabwe series from Thursday.
2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan
Champions Trophy will make a comeback in 2025 and it will be played in Pakistan. This will be the first ICC event to take place in the country since the 1996 World Cup, which was co-hosted by India and Sri Lanka as well. West Indies and the USA will host the T20 World Cup in 2024. India and Sri Lanka will jointly host the T20 World Cup in 2026.