ICC FTP draft creates two and a half month window for the IPL

ICC FTP draft creates two and a half month window for the IPL

International cricket is due to be played by the 12 full members between May 2023 and April 2027.


Mumbai: In a move that signifies the importance of Twenty20 league cricket, the International Cricket Council's (ICC) near-final draught Future Tours Programme (FTP) has created a two-and-a-half-month window for the Indian Premier League (IPL) every year. There are also home-season windows for the Hundred and the Big Bash League (BBL) in England and Australia's schedules.

A report in ESPNcricinfo said that the near-final draft of the ICC's latest FTP for men's cricket lays out the international cricket due to be played by the 12 full members between May 2023 and April 2027. It is built primarily on two cycles of the World Test Championship (WTC), a host of ICC events, and plenty of bilateral white-ball cricket.

Over the next four years, there are very few international cricket matches scheduled from the latter week of March to the first week of June. The IPL is played during that time.

The Twenty20 Leagues also have a timeframe for England and Australia. However, the report said that, in contrast to the IPL, the Hundred and windows don't bring international cricket to a halt. England and Australia, who have previously played both tournaments along with international games, must make room in their schedules for them.

For instance, a three-week window between July and August is free of any international cricket in every English summer in this draft FTP. The ECB has advocated for more time for England's marquee white-ball players during scheduling discussions for this FTP, so it stands to reason that they will have more time in their marquee white-ball competition. Due to international commitments, some of England's top players, including Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Joe Root, only participated in two games during the Hundred's inaugural season.

Other members have also made space for their T20 leagues, said the report. For example, the Caribbean Premier League (CPL)'s August-September window is all but set, though there's only ever been a handful of international cricket played in the Caribbean in those months. Bangladesh has kept January free for the BPL in each of the last four years of FTP, said the report.

Meanwhile, another report by ESPNcricinfo.com said that as per the near-final draft FTP, India is scheduled to play 38 tests, four fewer than England (42) and three fewer than Australia (41). Only two other countries have more than 30 tests on their calendar: Bangladesh (34) and New Zealand (32). The Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which is a test match series between India and Australia, has five tests. This is the first time since 1992 that this has happened. India will travel to Australia for five tests in December and January 2024-25, and the return series will take place in India in early 2027. Both series are part of the next two World Test Championship cycles in 2023–25 and 2025–27, respectively.

India is also scheduled to play two five-test series against England—at home in early 2024 and away in 2025. The home series will be part of the 2023–25 World Test Championship cycle, while the five tests in England are part of the 2025–27 WTC cycle.

Apart from the series against Australia and England, India has played more than two tests in a bilateral contest only once: a three-test series at home against New Zealand in October-November 2024. The rest of India's WTC series is limited to two tests. The report said England and Australia, on the other hand, are scheduled to play several three-test series over the next four years.

The final draft is expected to be presented at the ICC's Annual General Meeting on 25 and 26 July 2022, in Birmingham.