ICC unveils six-year international schedule
The ICC has announced the Future Tours Program (FTP) for the next six years.
The FTP, which was unanimously approved by the ICC's executive board at its March meeting in Dubai, provides "the foundation for a balanced schedule of international cricket for ICC Full Members," a statement said.
"The drafting of the new FTP was an incredibly complex process involving two years of analysis and 10 drafts," explained Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive. "But now that process has been completed and approved by our Members it provides them with certainty of scheduling right through until 2012. And by publishing that schedule on our website it means everyone can quickly discover their team's future commitments and be able to plan accordingly."
The new FTP is the first to cover six years instead of five. "Spreading the calendar over six years means each side can fulfill its mandatory minimum requirements of two Tests and three ODIs, home and away, against every other Full Member over that period while still scheduling rest periods for their players," the statement continued. "At the same time it allows Members to tailor the schedule to suit their own, specific, needs while preserving time in the calendar to accommodate icon series such as The Ashes and India - Pakistan on a four-year cycle."
Although the ICC was at pains to stress that the FTP was compiled using guidelines approved by the cricket committee, players at the captains' meeting and player representatives, it is sure to fuel the debate over player burnout. The only concession in this area appears to be the restriction on the number of home Twenty20 matches that can be played in any year.
"We think the balance that has been struck by this new FTP is about right and we believe that in conjunction with the ICC events it will help ensure that the sport continues to remain popular with players, supporters, broadcasters and sponsors," said Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager - cricket. "It is now up to our members to responsibly manage their calendar of international cricket beyond the mandatory commitments of the FTP and ICC events," he added.
Among all teams, India will play the maximum number of ODIs, in the region of 173 - 208 matches during this period. These include the additional 25 ODIs to be played at neutral venues, for which the broadcasting rights have already been sold. As far as the Tests are concerned, India will play 74 matches, behind England, who are scheduled to play upto 76 matches.
The new six-year FTP can be found on the ICC website by clicking here