It is an unhidden fact that franchise leagues such as IPL, BBL, PSL, and the Hundred are slowly influencing their dominance in world cricket. Almost every cricketing country has their flagship franchise league which gets them most of the revenue that is essential for their survival.
A near-final draft of the ICC’s latest Future Tours Programme (FTP), accessed by ESPNcricinfo, lays out the international cricket due to be played by the 12 Full Members between May 2023 and April 2027. It is built primarily on two cycles of the World Test Championship (WTC), a host of ICC events and plenty of bilateral white-ball cricket. A big revelation in this scheduling was the emphasis that was laid on extending windows for some franchise leagues.
ICC increases the window for IPL, BBL, and the Hundred
Every year, the period from the last week of March to the first week of June is an all but formalised window for the IPL. It has had a near-official window in the calendar for several years but this draft confirms BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s revelation about a two-week expansion last month. Very little international cricket has been scheduled during that period over the four years.
At the sale of its media rights for the next five years in June, the BCCI had postulated 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.
However, IPL isn’t the only league which has got its window extended. The ECB and CA have built-in smaller windows during their home seasons for their premier white-ball events – the Hundred and the BBL respectively.
Unlike the IPL, however, the Hundred and BBL windows don’t bring international cricket to a halt. They squeeze space out of the calendars of England and Australia, who have previously played both tournaments alongside international games.
Every English summer in this draft FTP, for example, a three-week window across July and August is clear of any international cricket. That is, presumably, to allow England’s marquee white-ball players more time in their marquee white-ball tournament, something the ECB has pushed for in scheduling discussions for this FTP. In the first season of the Hundred, some of England’s biggest names, such as Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Joe Root, only turned out for two games, because of international commitments.
A similar approach is apparent in Australia’s scheduling although it is not quite so clear-cut. CA’s CEO Nick Hockley has spoken of trying to keep January clear of white-ball internationals to allow their biggest names to take part in the BBL. Other than in January 2024, when West Indies are visiting for a full tour including six white-ball games, every subsequent January in Australia’s FTP is clear of white-ball internationals, but some Test commitments remain.
• Window period of IPL, BBL, and Hundred increased in the next FTP.
• IPL recently finalised a record media rights deal for the next five-year cycle.