The ICC on Wednesday released the Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the 2018-2023 cycle, making the Champions Trophy’s demise official and the tournament’s subsequent switch to a World T20 in 2021. It also means the FTP has rubber-stamped back-to-back World T20s in 2020 and 2021, in Australia and India respectively. The global body has reiterated the unanimity among its members with regard to the new arrangements.
“As part of the agreed international cricket structure, the ICC Board has already approved an additional ICC World T20 in place of the ICC Champions Trophy as well as giving Twenty20 International Status to all 104 Members,” the ICC release said.
It also confirmed the creation of a nine-team Test league and a 13-team ODI league (12 Test nations plus the Netherlands), to be introduced from 2019 and 2020 respectively. India’s opening series in the World Test Championship will be against the West Indies in the Caribbean from July 2019, while their first ODI series in the league will be against Sri Lanka away in June 2020. The Ashes in England after the 50-over World Cup next year kicks off the Test Championship.
The 2021 Champions Trophy switch had been a bone of contention between the ICC and the BCCI, with the Indian cricket board vehemently opposing the change. Incidentally, the FTP was released only two days prior to the Indian board’s Special General Meeting (SGM), scheduled on Friday. The BCCI members are expected to discuss India’s participation in ICC events at the meeting.
ICC chief executive David Richardson had all but confirmed the format switch of the 2021 Champions Trophy after the world body’s meeting in Kolkata in April. Richardson had spoken about the “unanimous decision” taken by the ICC Board.
Asked about this, Committee of Administrators (CoA) head Vinod Rai lamented the lack of communication. “Since the ICC claimed it’s a unanimous decision, it evidently means that our (BCCI) representative agreed to the decision. The CoA wasn’t privy to this issue coming up in the (ICC) Board agenda and our nominee to the Board neither shared it with us nor did he take our mandate. We were also not briefed after the decision was taken. We got to know about this only when the press release (after the ICC conclave in Kolkata) came,” Rai told The Indian Express. According to a source close to the CoA, with prior information, the Committee could have spoken with the ICC chairman (Shashank Manohar). According to him, the change was proposed and confirmed in the Kolkata meeting and the CoA didn’t even have the agenda. “Now the FTP is out, it’s a closed option,” the source said.
BCCI’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary is India’s representative to the ICC Board and when contacted by this paper, he said: “It was under protest. It wasn’t unanimous.” At the ICC Board, decisions are taken by majority if a motion is put to vote. The governing body of world cricket has 17 directors on its Board — one each from the 12 Test-playing countries, three Associate Member representatives, plus the chairman and the chief executive.
At the Full Council later this month, Indra Nooyi will join the ICC Board as the organisation’s first independent female director. If any director is not in agreement with a decision, a dissenting vote can be noted down. As per the FTP, India will play 200 international matches, across formats, in the five-year period.
Govt ‘no’ to Pakistan
At the World Test Championship, India will play against West Indies, South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Australia and England. Pakistan, expectedly, has been excluded from India’s pool. Rai informed that the BCCI didn’t negotiate about playing against Pakistan in the Test Championship with the Centre.
“The Government of India told us very clearly that there would be no bilateral cricket with Pakistan. The Government doesn’t encourage, as a policy, bilateral cricket with Pakistan.” Meanwhile, in the Test Championship, from July 15, 2019 to April 30, 2021, teams will play six series on a home -and-away basis, with the top two sides progressing to the June 2021 final. At the ICC meetings in Wellington last year, the majority of member boards had agreed upon Lord’s hosting the final. But the BCCI, it is learnt, wants the table-toppers to host the title showdown. The ODI league will run from May 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022, with the teams playing eight series over a two-year cycle on a home-and-away basis.
200 matches in five years for India
India will play 10 Tests against England (home and away) in one year, according to the latest FTP released by the ICC. In the 2018-2023 cycle, India will play 200 matches, across formats, which is more than any other team. India will play 102 matches at home with every Test-playing nation except Ireland and Pakistan.