England have resisted a request to rearrange their Test series with India this summer to accommodate the rescheduled Indian Premier League and it is expected to proceed as planned.
Last week it emerged that the BCCI had made informal representations to the England & Wales Cricket Board to trim the forthcoming five match Test series so the IPL could start in the UAE in the middle of September.
The fifth Test against India at Emirates Old Trafford is due to end on Sept 14 and the BCCI wanted to move it by around five days. But this would create a huge logistical challenge for the ECB with three days of the Test already sold out and the others likely to be full houses too.
One suggestion was to convert the fifth to the first Test and play it at the end of July but this would clash with the launch of the Hundred. There was also the possibility of shortening the nine day window between the second and third Tests at Lord’s and Headingley but this too was deemed too difficult so late in the day with fans having bought tickets, hotel rooms booked and broadcast schedules set.
Instead the Indian team are expected to stay in England and play the series as planned, before flying on a private charter from London to the UAE on Sept 15 to begin three days of quarantine before the IPL restarts on either Sept 19 or 20 finishing on Oct 9 or 10. There are 31 matches remaining to be played in the competition which was put on hold earlier this month when the coronavirus crisis gripped India.
It was clear at the time the tournament would be shifted to the UAE and the only window in the tight international calendar is the short gap between the end of India’s tour to England and the start of the Twenty20 World Cup on Oct 18. That tournament is also likely to be moved from India to the UAE because of the pandemic.
The availability of England players for the rescheduled IPL is still to be decided although Ashley Giles, the team director, said recently that international commitments will come first which will rule the majority out of returning to their franchises.
England are due to fly to Bangladesh on Sept 19 for Twenty20 and 50 overs series before going on to Pakistan to play two Twenty20 matches on Oct 14 and 15 in Karachi. The Bangladesh and Pakistan tours are important preparation for the Twenty20 World Cup in similar conditions, with England among the favourites and bidding to unite the two white ball global trophies.