The Ashes January 28, 2011

Back-to-back Ashes confirmed for 2013

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2013 Ashes fixtures

England and Australia will play each other in ten consecutive Tests across two series home and away in 2013-14, and that could be followed by a further five-match series in 2015, after it was confirmed that the dates of the next Ashes series Down Under have been brought forward by a year.

The situation, which last occurred in 1974-75, has been forced upon the two boards by the competing demands of the 2015 World Cup, which is also scheduled to be held in Australia and which, had the 2014-15 Ashes gone ahead as planned, would have required England's cricketers to remain in the country for five months.

A proposal to bring England's next home series, in 2013, forward by a year was thwarted by the competing demands of the London Olympics. England's subsequent home Ashes summer is now expected to take place in 2015, a year earlier than the 2016 date originally proposed, with the traditional four-year home-and-away rotation expected to kick in from then on.

"It's always been our aim to break that cycle of two huge events in the same winter," Steve Elworthy, the ECB's marketing director, told ESPNcricinfo. "To ensure that the teams have better preparation time for the World Cup, this is the only solution, but I also think it's absolutely manageable. I believe the brand is strong enough, as we've seen this year. The home series is critical from our perspective to make sure our grounds are full, but when England head Down Under, they will be trying to replicate the performance that they've just produced."

Although the new dates have yet to be included into the Future Tours Programme, the proposed shift of England's home series to 2015 is potentially significant, as it takes the series away from the competing interests of football's Euro 2016 tournament, which would overshadow the build-up in June and July. Instead, the only other major sporting event in 2015 is the Rugby World Cup, set to take place in England at the end of the cricket season in October.

A major consideration for CA was the prospect of a new round of TV rights negotiations, as the current deal is set to expire in May 2013. With India due to tour in 2011-12, followed by South Africa, England and the World Cup, the board is anticipating four consecutive seasons of high-quality international cricket.

''The Ashes have an x-factor element that excites the Australian public," CA's spokesman Peter Young told The Sydney Morning Herald. "The Ashes make turnstiles spin and they drive the ratings up. In terms of the next media contract, it's an ideal starting point because it's a lucrative blue chip series and all the networks would give their eye teeth to get hold of it."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on January 31, 2011, 23:30 GMT

    Too many games and, more to the point, too many Ashes games, in too short a period. It diminishes the importance of the contest.

  • Muyeen on January 31, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Hope it doesnt kill the ashes.. after so many years we have a very good england team and Ashes has become nail biting stuff again.. hope it continues... dont want both the teams fielding injured team with overall series tied at 4-4...

  • dummy4fb on January 31, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    I think it's ridiculous to take the other sporting events into the calculations. The games must be taken place as ussual and the cricket fans will deffinitely fill in the pavillions, especially noone would want to miss the Ashes.

  • Marto_TheLegend on January 31, 2011, 11:03 GMT

    It looks like a lot of matches bunched up, but it should work out OK in the long run. The Ashes aren't just till 2015, but hopefully for centuries after, so this calendar shift is something we just have to endure.

    Just a question though, why is the Asian Cup Football clashing with the Cricket WC in 2015?!

  • KingPunter on January 31, 2011, 10:59 GMT

    Surprised by this. This will burnout players and will reduce charm of Ashes. I was expecting them to increase the rotation time, probably make it 5 or 6 from 4 yrs which is the current rotation time.

  • subbuamdavadi on January 31, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    I think this will result in overkill. The Ashes are not only about the actual matches - there are the pre-match build-ups also to be considered. Commentators would not know when to stop dissecting the finished series and when to start building up the coming matches!! Moreover, throw in the T-20's and ODI's and I am sure both sets of players, spectators, supporters and commentators would be sick and tired of each other!!

  • gimc_tas on January 31, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    So they would to change the 4 cycles so there is no conflight between the Ashes and the Wolrd Cup. BUT .. the 2014-15 World Cup (in Australasia) will then be followed by the 2015 Ashes in England - so it just changes the disadvantage from England to Australia. AND .. the next time England hosts the World Cup, it will be immediately followed (in the same season) by an Ashes in England! Administrators really think it through!

  • brisCricFan on January 31, 2011, 4:16 GMT

    @ ravithecricbuff - why are we talking about Eng v Aus here and not about India... simply because the article is about Ashes back to back series... It never ceases to amaze me how commentors want to twist the blog to be about India being the best... that is nothing to do with this story... go find an article about India to wave your flag about... but having read them, chances are you already have and probably a few on the recent NZ v Pak series too... Now back to the story, one of the big things about the current gaps between the series is the changes and growth in between by these two ultra-competitive sides. With so much happening in so short a time, I can't see that happening. It could end up the same 13 players because the winners are reluctant to change and the losers (especially the touring party) not wanting to look in a panic over a bad situation. That won't be good for cricket or audience numbers to roll out to see the same underperformers...

  • MrKricket on January 31, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    By the end of it all we'll be down to 3rd XIs for both teams with the injury tolls! Brad Hodge might get a game then! Has Mark Ramprakash retired?

  • candyfloss on January 30, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    Whatever happened to Adam Smith's Law of Diminishing marginal utility.

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