England’s white-ball tour of India which was supposed to get under way at the back end of September or the start of October has been postponed until at least early next year.
The International Cricket Council Future Tours Programme indicated the two nations would play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia.
But the global tournament has been put back by 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, and with India becoming the third country to pass two million infections recently, England’s trip has been put back until 2021.
Instead, the England and Wales Cricket Board and its Indian counterparts are exploring a tour comprising all formats which would run from late January until the end of March.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “Now that we have clarity regarding the postponement of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, it enables us to work with other boards to progress the vital task of optimising the international schedules in the challenging circumstances that we have all been having to address with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“International cricket between India and England is a highlight of the cricketing calendar and we look forward to working with the Board of Control for Cricket in India to firm-up the schedules for these eagerly anticipated tours as soon as possible.”
There has been mounting speculation that the tour will instead take place in the United Arab Emirates, which is set to play host to this year’s Indian Premier League between September 19 and November 10.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah said: “The India-England series is one of the most anticipated contests in world cricket. The two teams compete hard on the field and provide some riveting moments.
“I am pleased with the way BCCI and ECB have managed the situation. The rescheduled tour is also being redesigned in a way to accommodate both red and white-ball format and will now be a comprehensive one.”
Meanwhile, England’s Women’s World Cup defence has been pushed back after the International Cricket Council announced that the 2021 tournament in New Zealand has been postponed for a year.
With the coronavirus pandemic having an impact on international cricket tournaments, competitions continue to be juggled in an attempt to maximise the options available.
The ICC confirmed in a statement issued on Friday afternoon that the Women’s World Cup will move to 2022 – while the postponed Men’s T20 World Cup 2020, due to be played in Australia later this year, has also been shifted to 2022 as India are already due to host the 2021 edition.
“The International Cricket Council (ICC) today confirmed that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 that was postponed due to COVID-19 will be held in Australia in 2022. India will host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as planned,” the statement read.
“The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand has been postponed until February – March 2022 because of the impact the pandemic has had on cricket globally.
“The decisions were taken by the IBC (the commercial subsidiary of the ICC) following an extensive contingency planning exercise which has taken into account the health, cricket and commercial impact of COVID-19 around the world.”
England won the last Women’s World Cup – which they hosted in 2017 – with ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney keen to give all teams a level playing field heading into the rearranged 2022 edition.
“We have taken the decision to move the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup to give players from every competing nation, the best opportunity to be ready for the world’s biggest stage and there is still a global qualifier to complete to decide the final three teams,” he said.
“There has been no women’s international cricket played since the conclusion of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year and due to the varying impact of COVID-19 globally that is likely to remain the situation for a number of the teams.
“Moving the event by 12 months gives all competing teams the chance to play a sufficient level of cricket ahead of both the qualification event and leading into a Cricket World Cup so the integrity of the tournament is maintained.”