BCCI is understood to be in talks with ECB to advance the dates of the 5 test series
In a latest development, there have been reports in the English media that the BCCI has unofficially requested the ECB to advance the dates of the India v England 5 tests series by 1 week to accommodate completion of the remainder of the IPL 2021 in September.
Former England captain and current commentator Mike Atherton has confirmed these reports though there are no confirmations yet from BCCI.
India will have a gap of 40 days after the WTC final against New Zealand. During which time they will be playing practice games. The 1st test starts on August 4 and the last test at the Oval ends around the middle of September. Hence if the Test series is advance by a week. The BCCI will get a bigger window to complete the 31 IPL matches within September. With the World T20 starting in mid-October.
However, Mike Atherton has pointed out that the above rejigging of dates can cause a lot of logistical issues for ECB. Firstly a substantial portion of tickets is sold for all the tests of 5 test series including the first 3 days of the last Test at the Oval. Moreover, England will host Pakistan in a series of white-ball matches before the India series. Also,the ECB has big plans to schedule their domestic 100 competition.
“It is easy to understand why India would enquire to see if the schedule can be changed. They complete the World Test Championship final against New Zealand on June 22. And are not due to play the first Test against England. Until the first week of August, six weeks later,” Atherton wrote.
Atherton further said that it will be very tight for the ECB to accede to the BCCI request. At this juncture and in all probability ECB may not agree to tweak the dates of the test series.
Another option that BCCI may discuss with ECB is of reducing the series to 4 tests by scrapping the final test. An option which looks equally difficult for ECB to agree to at this stage as ticket sales for the 5th test has already gone ahead .