England agree to extra one-day international in India
The England and Wales Cricket Board has confirmed reports that England will play an extra one-day international when the team returns to India on January 11th. The additional match will take place at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on January 19th instead of the scheduled practice match under lights in Mumbai on that day.
There have been lengthy discussions between the ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India about the details of England's itinerary, and concerning the Indian tour to England next summer.
Despite the fact that schedules for both tours had been agreed, in writing, some time ago, a change in personnel at the top of the BCCI has resulted in fresh demands from the Indian board. As part of his "new broom" approach, the new president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, is reported as saying that India would not honour their commitment to play four Tests in England next summer unless England played this extra one-day international.
It is believed that the ECB had made contingency plans to find alternative opposition should an agreement not have been reached, but it would appear that such a possibility has been avoided.
The re-arranged schedule for England in India means that the second ODI will be played at Cuttack on January 22nd. The remainder of the itinerary is unchanged, with Chennai (January 25th), Kanpur (January 28th), New Delhi (January 31st) and Mumbai (February 3rd) hosting the other four games.
Meanwhile, India have been keen to extend England's tour to India in 2005-06 to include a fifth Test. This is despite the outburst from Sunil Gavaskar who has described England's approach to the game as being only "good for people suffering from insomnia".
During the Test tour that has just finished, Gavaskar described Nasser Hussain's side as "boring" and criticised the quality of their batting. Even admitting the failings of the Indian side that allowed England to take the upper hand in the final two Tests, the former batting great could find little good to say about the tourists.
"At the end of the third Test, the overwhelming feeling was one of relief," he said. "Thank God, it was a three-Test series and not a five-Test one, for Indian cricket would have lost a great number of spectators seeing the fare dished out."