As the England Team prepare for their opening match in the Champions Trophy in South Africa, the ECB have announced the confirmed dates for the 2010 international fixture calendar for the National side.
Following on from the tour to South Africa that concludes on Jan. 18, the next engagement is a tour of Bangladesh to consist of two Tests and three One-day games that is scheduled to run from Feb. 28 to March 24.
This is bound to cause controversy, as it will clash with part of the 2010 IPL season, and players like Andrew Flintoff (who has not accepted a central contract) and Kevin Pietersen, who have commitments to the IPL may have a decision to make about their availability for the Bangladesh series that sparks yet further debate about the priorities of international cricketers in the face of financial inducements from provincial competitions.
The next International dates revolve around the World 20/20 in the West Indies, running from April 20 to May16, clashing with the early part of the English domestic season, and these are swiftly followed by the visit of Bangladesh for two more Tests (Lord’s and Old Trafford) and three One-dayers that conclude on July 12.
The second part of the summer sees England hosting a short series between Pakistan and Australia (two Tests—Lord’s and Headingley and two 20/20s), which follows a five match One-day series against Australia (June 22 to July 3).
Then the series against the Pakistanis begins, comprising four Tests (Trent Bridge, Edgbaston, The Oval, Lord’s) running from July 29 to August 30 and five ODIs (Sept. 10 to Sept. 22) as well as two 20/20 matches.
England’s cricketers would then supposedly get a break before the Ashes series in Australia starting next November.
This looks like a tough schedule for both players and fans.
There will also be concerns raised about the grounds scheduled for use, with Lord’s due to host three Tests next summer while new Test-level grounds like Cardiff, the Rose Bowl and Durham’s Riverside are restricted to One-day duty. If the ECB are keen to increase the use of these grounds for Test match cricket it seems obscure that when there are eight Tests in the country in 2010, the new grounds are not being tried out.