LONDON: India will play five Tests in England for the first time since 1959 during next year’s tour, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Monday.
The tour schedule also sees 50-over world champions India, who beat England by five runs in the Champions Trophy final at Edgbaston in June, involved in five one-day internationals and a one-day international.
Three of the five Tests will be played at southern venues, Lord’s and The Oval in London plus Southampton’s Rose Bowl although, as the latter is a relatively new international ground, the Test there is still subject to confirmation following an ECB inspection visit.
Nottingham’s Trent Bridge in the English Midlands will stage the first Test with the fourth at Manchester’s Old Trafford in the north of the country.
Bowlers on both sides may be concerned by a schedule which sees five Tests due to be crammed into the space of just over a month.
The fact cricket is the leading sport in India, the world’s second most populous nation, makes the country the economic powerhouse of the global game.
This is reflected in the hugely lucrative television deals the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) can command, as well as its promotion of the Twenty20 Indian Premier League which sees many of the world’s top players earning millions of dollars to play for franchise teams.
Meanwhile the large Indian expatriate community in Britain means matches involving the India national side in England usually attract large crowds.
This was clearly seen during India’s 2011 tour of England when more than 850,000 spectators, a record for an international season saw India defeated four-nil in the Test series and three-nil in the one-dayers, with the T20s shared at 1-1.
“This will be the first time England has hosted India in a five Test series in more than 50 years and the length of the series reflects the iconic status which contests between these two great cricketing nations now enjoy,” said ECB chief executive David Collier in a statement issued Monday.
“We anticipate significant demand for tickets both for the Test series, and for the One-Day International series which will be the first encounter between these two countries in the 50-over format since India’s triumph in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy competition at Edgbaston earlier this year.
“We thank the BCCI for their support and also our international venues who between them helped bring a record number of spectators – more than 850,000 — to international cricket over the course of the season when India last toured here in 2011.”England beat India 2-1 in India in a Test series last year — Alastair Cook’s first as full-time England captain — before sharing a two-match Twenty20 series and then losing a five-match one-day campaign 3-2.
New Zealand Cricket meanwhile announced a shortened schedule for its home series against India after reports that the visitors wanted to keep the tour as brief as possible.
NZC said India would play two Tests and five one-dayers against the Black Caps between January 19 and February 18, in the first tour by the world number two Test nation since 2009.
Under the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, the trip was supposed to include three Tests, five one-dayers and one T20 in February and March.
However, India were reportedly keen to curtail the visit so they can participate in the Asia Cup, which begins in late February.
NZC chief executive David White admitted last month that discussions with the Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) over the tour “have taken longer than we hoped”.
He did not address the shortened itinerary in a brief statement issued Monday, saying only: “It’s brilliant that the Black Caps will be playing five ODIs against the world’s top one-day side given the proximity of Cricket World Cup in 2015.”
It is not clear whether NZC will receive compensation from the BCCI for potential revenue foregone after one Test and one T20 were cut from the tour.
India itinerary for their 2014 tour of England
Jun 23: India team arrives in UK Jun 26-28: three-day tour match v Leicestershire, Leicester Jul 01-03: three-day tour match v Derbyshire, Derby Jul 09-13: 1ST TEST, Trent Bridge Jul 17-21: 2ND TEST, Lord’s Jul 27-31: 3RD TEST, Rose Bowl Aug 07-11: 4TH TEST, Old Trafford Aug 15-19: 5TH TEST, The Oval Aug 22: 50-over match, v Middlesex, Lord’s Aug 25: 1ST ODI, Bristol Aug 27: 2ND ODI, Cardiff Aug 30: 3RD ODI ,Trent Bridge Sep 02: 4TH ODI, Edgbaston Sep 05: 5TH ODI, Headingley Sep 07: T20, Edgbaston Sep 08: India team departs UK Note: Test at Rose Bowl subject to confirmation following final facility inspection