The fate of the T20 World Cup later this year, and as a result the Indian Premier League (IPL), still hangs in balance as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) apex council will have a challenging time while finalisiing India’s revised international calendar for the remaining cricket season.
Ever since India’s cricket activities were brought to a standstill due to the pandemic in March, a spate of international assignments have either been cancelled or rescheduled. While the home ODI series versus South Africa was abandoned, the scheduled tours to Sri Lanka in June-July (3 ODIs, 3 T20Is June-July), Zimbabwe in August (3 ODIs) have been indefinitely postponed. A proposed tour to South Africa for three T20Is in August has also been cancelled.
On Tuesday, it was confirmed that India’s first home assignment of the season — the limited-overs leg of the split series against England — will also not be played as per schedule in September-October. England was supposed to face India in three ODIs and three T20Is between the scheduled Asia Cup and India’s departure to Australia for a T20I series, followed by the T20 World Cup.
It is understood that the England & Wales Cricket Board and BCCI executives have been in discussion about accommodating white-ball games at the cost of one or two Tests when England is expected to tour India for five Tests from January 2021.
All these factors, besides trying to accommodate Afghanistan ODIs and possibly reschedule South Africa’s abandoned series is set to be discussed on Friday.
Point No. 4 of the apex council agenda states: “Discussion on finalising Team India’s Future Tours Programme”.
It will be interesting to see how the BCCI keeps its commitment to the broadcasters by ensuring the number of games to 17 till March next year.
“Anyway India is not scheduled to play too much at home this season, so it will be difficult to sacrifice on number of games and take a further hit in broadcast rights income,” said a BCCI insider.