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ECB move May Test matches

ESPNcricinfo staff

September 2, 2013

Comments: 65 | Text size: A | A

Ian Bell celebrates Kumar Sangakkara's downfall, England v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Cardiff, 5th day, May 30, 2011
Sri Lanka were blown away for 82 during the Cardiff Test in 2011 © Getty Images
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The ECB has ditched the May Test matches which have been a part of the English summer since 2000 by shifting the two-match series against Sri Lanka next year to June with the T20 and ODIs being played beforehand.

Playing Sri Lanka's Tests in mid-June should help avoid problems of clashing with the IPL, which has created availability issues with some players not arriving until shortly before the first Test, and also opens up the chance for England players such as Kevin Pietersen to have a longer stint at the tournament.

This would have been a tougher proposition had England been obliged to play three Tests, as originally suggested by the Future Tours Programme. However, as Sri Lanka Cricket trimmed the home series against England to two Tests, in order to have Sri Lanka players available for the entire 2012 IPL, the ECB is no longer bound to provide more than two Tests on the reciprocal tour.

Last time Sri Lanka visited, in 2011, five players including Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene missed one of the two warm-up matches due to IPL commitments and the same situation occurred with New Zealand this year when Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor arrived late.

Sri Lanka in England 2014

  • Only T20 - May 20, The Oval
  • 1st ODI - May 22, The Oval
  • 2nd ODI - May 25, Durham
  • 3rd ODI - May 28, Old Trafford
  • 4th ODI - May 31, Lord's
  • 5th ODI - June 3, Edgbaston
  • 1st Test - June 12-16, Lord's
  • 2nd Test - June 20-24, Headingley

The IPL will start later next year, due to the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, but is likely to be concluded by early June although it means that the Twenty20 and ODI series of Sri Lanka's visit will face the scheduling clash and subsequent player availability issues. However, if this type of schedule is maintained in future years it may open up a clear window for the IPL.

For next year it means England will have a run of seven Tests in little more than two months next summer with the five-match series against India beginning in early July.

Touring teams have struggled to adapt to conditions for May Test matches in England; the only team to win a Test in May (and even that began on May 31) was Pakistan in 2001. England have only lost one other match in their early-season Test series, first introduced against Zimbabwe in 2000, when Sri Lanka levelled the 2006 series at Trent Bridge.

McGlashan: 'June start will give larger window for IPL'

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (September 6, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

Here is an Indian speaking!!!No matter what ppl say about SL, no-one can underestimate the talent of this tiny cricketing nation!!SL have always remained underdogs while going into major series and tournaments but they hav proved every1 wrong!!!For those who forecast SL will turn out to be minnows after the era of Sanga,Mahela,Dilshan, my gut feeling says that they still will be able to compete in the international arena!!!

Posted by KingOwl on (September 5, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

I would love to see 3 tests. But, one has to be pragmatic. SLC needs the money that comes from IPL. There is little choice, unfortunately. But I think it is great that ECB postponed the series. I am sure it will help them as well, in managing relations with key players such as KP.

Posted by RobinMama on (September 4, 2013, 5:39 GMT)

Now this is crazy. I think no one should play Tests with Sri Lanka. They don't play Test Cricket even at home where they cancelled the SA Test Series due to SLPL. And hell yeah they didn't have the SLPL as well. They cancelled the whole England Series when IPL formed for the first time. And the next time, players didn't participate to the practice matches in England due to IPL clash. Get your players inline!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (September 4, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

@Htc-Baseball on (September 2, 2013, 16:15 GMT), apparently, this Test series was shortened by the ECB because SL shortened the previous series in SL to two matches also.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (September 3, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

No body wants play against number 7 ranked team in text

Posted by SirViv1973 on (September 3, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

@Yorkshire Pudding, I would have been happy enough to have seen the ECB stage a Tri Series in mid summer next year, given its Ind & SRL. In principle I would rather see Tri Series as there are far too many meaningless bilateral ODI series. However from a financial point of view the ECB couldn't stage a Tri Series every summer. For instance in 2015 Aus & NZL are back & I doubt games between those 2 teams in Eng would generate the sort of crowds/money the ECB are looking for. I also wonder if Sky have a say in it. The viewing figures for an Eng ODI would be way higher than 1 featuring 2 overseas teams.

Posted by StoneRose on (September 3, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

2 test series are meaningless

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (September 3, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

@SirViv1973, I do remember the Tri-series, and I see your point, but with india playing in the UK you would get a lot of Ex-pats and people working/studying in the UK visiting all the India games, the same goes for SL games, both countries have large fan bases.

I completedly agree with you about the number of tests, I also agree India is the draw next summer, just as the Ashes was the draw this summer, though I think you might find that a large number of SL tickets will be available at Lords on all days, there were in 2011.

Also agree regarding the compression of the window, with the IPL at one end and the CT20 at the other, thats why the India tests have been brought forward, so they can get an ODI series in before mid Sep.

Posted by 200ondebut on (September 3, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

England like home test matches because they make them a lot of money - so to say that they trimmed the series as a tit for tat measure is a bit naive. It makes commercial sense to push them back in the year - simply so that more play is possible. This move will certainly give more opportunity for fringe players to push for international honours as I doubt whether the key players (bowlers especially) will be expected to play in every game (outside the tests that is). Whoever wrote this is also a bit naive in thinking its the conditions that has produced the one sided results. It also has quite a lot to do with the fact that we generally entertain the weaker test nations at this time of year.

Posted by brusselslion on (September 3, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

@Rashid Nazir Ali: Having taken much of the skill and finesse of out of cricket and replaced it with poor quality cheerleader and firework displays, personally, I'm not looking forward to the next generation of innovations.

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