As per the latest Future Tour Programmes (FTP) till 2020, the biggest addition is Afghanistan getting to play a Test in Australia. The Test match will be played in 2020 and along with that, New Zealand, too, will return to Australia to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day after 30 years.
Going by the latest FTP released by the ICC, a new concept of nine-team Test championship and a One-Day league structure will ensure 50 internationals matches to be played between World Cups. The phase starts with Ashes in England next year July. Moreover, the Test championship will not include Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan and rest of the 9 teams will play for the Championship title, for which the venue is yet to be decided. Though, it is most likely to be held at Lord’s.
The FTP envelopes scheduling for playing cycle till 2023. The participating nations will compete for Test championship with six series at home and away against each other in a two-year span. On the other hand, the ODI league will have eight three-match series in the initial competition from 2020-2022.
The interesting schedule in this fixture will be Afghanistan’s Test match in Australia prior to Border-Gavaskar Trophy down-under in 2020-21. The Ashes series to be included in the new Championship structure with Australia touring England in 2019, followed by England coming back to the island continent in 2021-22.
Australia will travel to South Africa in February-March 2020, while South Africa will tour back in 2022-23, including a Boxing Day Test for them since 2008. Australia will also play Tests in Bangladesh in February 2020 and will then host a series against Pakistan at the start of 2019-20 summer.
“For both Test cricket and one-day cricket going forward, we won’t have a choice about who we play – that will be determined by the cycle and will be done by the ICC. Notwithstanding that, we obviously want – and the ICC understands the importance of – the regular cycle of Ashes cricket, “ James Sutherland said.