Chris Gayle's West Indians await England next February © Getty Images
The ECB has confirmed the itinerary for England's 2009 tour of the West Indies, comprising of four Tests, one Twenty20 international and a five-match ODI series, but denied that the schedule had been agreed with one eye on the IPL.

England will arrive in Barbados on Wednesday, January 21, where they will play two three-day warm up matches before moving to Jamaica for the first Test against West Indies at Sabina Park on Wednesday, February 4.

The teams then move onto Antigua, where the second Test will take place at Sir Vivian Richards stadium in North Sound, starting on February 13, and a two-day tour match, the details of which have yet to be confirmed, will be fitted in before the third Test in Barbados, starting on February 26. The fourth and final Test (March 6-10) will be played at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad, with the same venue hosting the Twenty20 match less than a week later.

The tour concludes with the five-match ODI series, starting with two games in Guyana on March 20 and 22, closely followed by two more in Barbados, and the series finale in St Lucia on Friday, April 3.

England's recent tours of the Caribbean have generally started and finished five weeks later, which suggests that a window has been created to allow players from both squads to compete in the Indian Premier League.

But this was vigorously denied by the ECB. "The dates for the tour to the Caribbean were agreed before the IPL was ever mooted," a spokesman said. "Those dates have not changed. The tours this winter were scheduled to give players appropriate rest after the India series and the West Indies series so that they could prepare for a full and important domestic season that includes an Ashes series and the ICC World Twenty20 competition."

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