ICC board of directors meet in Dubai March 21, 2006

New six-year tour plan agreed

Cricinfo staff

Malcolm Speed: 'It is very pleasing that after two years of discussions we have been able to produce a new FTP' © AFP
A new six-year Future Tours Programme (FTP) has been approved by the ICC Board on the second day of their meeting in Dubai. The new schedule means major Test series such as Australia against India and England against India can be played on a more regular basis.

It has been a drawn out process to reach the final stages of the new FTP, but Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, said it was time well spent and will help provide certainty of scheduling for Test nations through until 2012.

"The drafting of a new FTP is an exceptionally complex task that requires collaboration and compromise from across the membership base," said Speed. "It is very pleasing that after two years of discussions we have been able to produce a new FTP that is supported by all ten of our Full Member countries.

"A regular programme of home and away international cricket for all of our members is an integral component of a healthy global game. This FTP protects the status of Test cricket, ensures that prestigious historical Test series can continue to be contested over four or five matches and provides certainty of planning for our members."

As well as creating space for the big-name Test series, the new FTP will allow Zimbabwe - if they regain their Test status in 2007 - to play more matches against Bangladesh in an attempt to create better competition, rather than the ritual thrashings handed out by the stronger teams.

The new programme also incorporates one-day internationals involving the associate member countries. As with the present five-year arrangement, tours between full member countries will need to contain at least two Tests and three ODIs.

Meanwhile, the board has accepted the BCCI's request to increase the number of venues for the 2006 Champions Trophy from three to four and any additional costs will be met by the BCCI. The itinerary will now be finalised once final participating teams have been decided by the cut-off point of April 1.