Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which is one of the most competitive test bilateral series played between Australia and India is set to turn into a five-match series from a four-match tour. This change is set to be on a reciprocal basis in the next cycle of the Future Tours Programme (FTP). Hence, the scheduled home series between India and Australia in 2023, to be played in February-March, will remain a four-Test contest.
The latest Border-Gavaskar trophy 2020-21 was one of the greatest series in Test cricket’s history where India won the series by 2-1. That series generated a lot of hype and money for the Australian Cricket board. Therefore, it was a no-brainer to increase one test match in the series.
“I think it’s a great initiative as it’s the closest contest to an Ashes series for the Australian team,” former captain Steve Waugh told Cricbuzz. Australia and England regularly play each other over five Tests for the Ashes trophy. India, in recent years, has also played England across five Tests both home and away, and now the same will apply to the series involving them and Australia.
Australia to get a major financial boost with the increase of a test match in the series
It is a bonus for the Kangaroos, which is due to begin serious negotiations on another broadcast deal. Cricket Australia (CA) recently reported giving a financial dimension to the expansion. It is believed the four Tests were worth $400m to CA in the most recent broadcast deal – which was part of the reason the thought of the visitors going home midway through the 2020-21 season was so alarming. An extra Test match against India every four years will add significantly to broadcast revenues.
The next cycle of the FTP, coming into effect after the World Test Championship (WTC) final in June 2023, is being given the finishing touches by various boards. It is expected to be approved at the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) annual conference in Birmingham.
India’s bilateral matches will be known only after the FTP is made public but it is understood that the revamped series will be from late 2024 when India will visit Australia for a bilateral series.
Interestingly, it will not be the first time the two countries will be involved in five Tests. India has had five-Test series Down Under thrice, the last one in 1991-92 when the Australian team had won 4-0. In 1959 and 1969, India hosted Australia for five games while the 1979-80 series ran for six Tests.
• Border Gavaskar trophy is set to be a five-match series.
• The change will come into effect from the next FTP.