The lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to have its dedicated two and half month window every year in the next Future Tours Programme (FTP) calendar of the ICC as very little international cricket has been scheduled during that period over the four years.
As per a near-final draft of the ICC’s latest FTP for men’s cricket, the international cricket due to be played by the 12 Full Members between May 2023 and April 2027, is built primarily on two cycles of the World Test Championship (WTC), a host of ICC events and plenty of bilateral white-ball cricket. However, the unmarked gaps in the calendar are a noticeable thing.
Every year, the period from the last week of March to the first week of June is an all-but-formalized window for the IPL. It has had a near-official window in the calendar for several years but the latest draft has a two-week extension, which confirms BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s revelation, which he made last month, an ESPNCricinfo report said.
After a highly successful IPL media rights deal, Shah had said that IPL will have an official two-and-a-half-month window so that all the top international cricketers can participate in the league and for that BCCI has had discussions with various boards as well as the ICC.
Following the BCCI secretary’s comment, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja had said that they are feeling “short-changed” by IPL getting a two-and-a-half-month window in ICC FTP and will raise the issue and challenge the development at the ICC AGM.
Notably, the IPL doesn’t allow Pakistan players to take part except in the first season of the league in 2008, due to poor political relations between the two countries. As a result, the IPL window arguably impacts Pakistan’s international season more than other members.
However, it has been now learned that PCB is unlikely to get any support from other members as they are in agreement with Shah’s proposal of IPL having an extended window.
The IPL which pays the maximum wages to foreign players and each overseas one sold to franchises ensures a 10 percent fee for the member boards, was played between eight teams and had 60 matches a season between 2014 and 2021.
In 2022, with the addition of Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants, IPL expanded to ten teams and 74 matches. At the sale of its media rights for the next five years in June, the BCCI had also suggested a varying number of matches per season ranging from 74 games each in 2023 and ’24, 84 matches each in 2025 and ’26, and a maximum of 94 matches for the final year of the deal in 2027.
Unlike the IPL, The Hundred in England, the Big Bash League in Australia will not have a dedicated window. However, both ECB and Cricket Australia are making sure that their calendar is scheduled in a manner where marquee players of both countries are available for the majority of the games.
The report further said that England is set to have a three-week free window from July to August so that marquee players can play The Hundred. On the other hand, the BBL will have a free window in January for the next four years.
Meanwhile, the West Indies have an August-September window for the Caribbean Premier League and Bangladesh have kept January free for the Bangladesh Premier League.
Cricket South Africa’s third attempt at a franchise T20 league is set to launch in January 2023. 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 published by the ICC after it’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) which takes place on July 25 and 26 in Birmingham.