The IPL is set to get a two-and-a-half-month exclusive window in the next Futures Tours & Programme (FTP) of the ICC with no international cricket scheduled in that phase.
As per the draft FTP, India are also scheduled to play 38 Tests, four fewer than England (42) and three less than Australia (41) in the next FTP cycle. Only two other countries have more than 30 Tests on their calendar: Bangladesh (34) and New Zealand (32).
That the T20 extravaganza would be a “two-and-a-half-month” affair from the next FTP was confirmed by PTI in an exclusive interview with BCCI secretary Jay Shah on the sidelines of the blockbuster IPL media rights deal last month.
“Let me inform you that from the next ICC FTP calendar, IPL will have an official two-and-a-half month window so that all the top international cricketers can participate. We have had discussions with various boards as well as the ICC,” Shah had told PTI.
As per the International Cricket Council draft, the IPL, which currently has a window from March last week to May, will now spill over to June with a two-week extension, said a report in ESPNCricinfo.
While the Pakistan Cricket Board is expected to raise its concern as its players are banned from the cash-rich league, PCB chairman Ramiz Raja is unlikely to get any support from other members.
It was Shah who had pushed hard for the dedicated window and got most of the member nations on the same page.
The IPL pays the maximum wages to foreign players and each overseas sold to franchises ensures a 10 percent fee for the member boards as per agreement. Most top nations don’t keep any engagement during IPL.
Asked about Pakistan’s objection, an ICC Board member, privy to developments laughed.
“The problem with Ramiz is that he has to say certain things to his country’s media and he does that which is fair. But the trend of his performance at ICC meetings tells a different story. He never puts in a strong protests. Plus he is a thorough gentleman and he knows that this is happening. The boards want it and the players want it,” the senior official said.
From being 60 matches between eight teams, the IPL 2022 was expanded to 10 teams and 74 games with addition of Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants. In the coming years, it will subsequently increase to 84 and finally to 94 games.
Unlike the IPL, the Hundred in England, the Big Bash League in Australia will not have dedicated window.
However, both ECB and Cricket Australia would like to ensure that it is scheduled in a manner where marquee players of both countries are available for bulk of the games.
England is likely to have a three-week free window from July to August so that marquee players can play the Hundred.
The BBL will have a free window in January for the next four years. The West Indies have a August-September window for the Caribbean Premier League and Bangladesh have a freer international calendar in January for the Bangladesh Premier League.
Cricket South Africa’s third attempt at a franchise T20 league is set to launch in January 2023, said the report.
“In the draft of the new FTP, they have a window clear of international cricket in January 2025 and January 2026.” Pakistan Super League has windows open in February-March (2023), January-February (2024) and December-January (2026-27).
The final draft is expected to be presented at the ICC’s Annual General Meeting on July 25 and 26 at Birmingham.