England’s five-Test series against India is expected to proceed as planned with a revised plan to squeeze the second half of the Indian Premier League between the tour’s conclusion and the T20 World Cup in October.
The IPL’s Covid-related suspension on 4 May left 31 matches remaining and faced with a £200m loss should these go unplayed the Board of Control for Cricket in India has been seeking to carve out a new window in September.
Last week the England and Wales Cricket Board were approached unofficially about the possibility of moving the fifth Test at Old Trafford from its current 10-14 September slot to late July to free up more time for the lucrative short-form tournament.
However, with the first three days of the Test sold out – and the proposed new date for it a direct clash with the start of the Hundred – the ECB appears to have held firm in response, prompting the BCCI to further crunch down the IPL’s conclusion.
According to reports in India the tournament will now be completed in the space of three weeks in the United Arab Emirates, starting on the weekend of 19-20 September. An initial 17-day conclusion to the group stage could feature up to 10 double-headers, before a four-day knockout stage and the final on 9 or 10 October.
One of the eight franchises has said the exact dates still hinge on the outcome of a BCCI meeting this week but, as things stand, they expect the IPL will resume after the conclusion of the fifth Test in England and not affect the tour.
This proposed IPL restart would leave just a week before the T20 World Cup begins on 18 October and, with the UAE likely to replace India as hosts, meaning little time for pitches to recover and stadiums to be repurposed for a global tournament.
It would also cut across the preparation period for teams, although the first six days of the tournament is a group stage involving the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Namibia, Scotland and Oman before the top 10 sides – including India, Australia, England and West Indies – enter from the second round.