It was about this time last year that talks around the resumption of international cricket had erupted. England hosted the West Indies to start it off post-pandemic and the sport soon regained a kind of normalcy across many countries. While the world still continues to battle the dreadful Covid19, cricket as well continues to bring joy and pleasure to the grim faces. This year, in fact, the sport goes a step further to sport multiple cricket series at multiple places during the same time. Needless to say with almost every single international team involved in some or the other cricket series, the fans are beckoned for a few months of intense action.
Sri Lanka’s tour of Bangladesh and New Zealand tour of England will set up the tone for the long cricket season at the end of May. While the two Asian teams will battle in a 3-match ODI series, England will host the Kiwis for a 2-match Test series followed by the most-awaited World Test Championship Finals. The two finalists India and New Zealand at Edgbaston will fight to be crowned the first-ever World Test Champions by June 22. Either of the teams has already begun their preparation for the same in varied ways, the two equally balanced squads would look to make the most of their opportunities. While New Zealand coming on the back of the Test series against England would be more accustomed to the conditions, Indians will be keen on making a good start to their English summer comprising of a 5-match Test series after the WTC Finals in England.
Parallelly, the South African team will also travel west to the Caribbean for 2 Tests and 5 T20Is. The series could reportedly mark the return of AB de Villiers to international cricket in the build-up to the T20 World Cup later this year. The popularity of Test cricket post the Covid19 break is heartening to see but with the T20 World Cup coming up, teams will shift their focus to the shortest format. Post the South Africans, the Australians, and Pakistanis in July and August respectively. West Indies will host Australia for a total white-ball series including 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs, Pakistan will play a couple of Tests alongside the 5 T20I games. In one of the busiest summers for the Windies, the T20 specialists and the defending champions will look to get into form before the all-important World Cup.
The traditional England summer will also be an extended one like the last time around. After facing New Zealand in the two-Test matches, England will host Sri Lanka and Pakistan for two consequent white ball series comprising of 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is each. However, the stern test for the English side and arguably the Season Finale for the three months of intense cricketing action will come in with India’s tour to England for 5 Tests starting August 4th. Indians were mighty impressive the last time around despite losing the series. Moreover, the increase in the confidence, belief, and strength of the Indian team, especially after the historical win down under, will be some force to counter for the hosts. The likes of Broad and Anderson in the home conditions against Kohli, Pujara, and others will sport a massive contest between the larger battle and the series will be a spectacle to watch for many around the globe A good mix of the experience and youth in either side will make the game much more entertaining and full of plot-twists.
India, for the first time in a while, will also simultaneously play in and against Sri Lanka – 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is. A completely different XI comprising of players outside of the Indian contingent in England will travel the island nation in a seeming audition for the T20 World Cup spot. The number of youngsters Indian cricket has produced over the recent years, and the number of performances that they’ve delivered across competitions has been phenomenal. The decision to play a parallel white-ball series is therefore worthy of praise. The action will begin on 13 July post-Lanka’s return from England.
The said time period, June-August, will also feature the lower-ranked nations – Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands and Zimbabwe get some game-time. The Netherlands will host Scotland and Ireland in the order for some ODI games in the build-up to the ICC World Cup 2023 qualifier next year. Ireland will then carry on to play a few more games at their home in Dublin hosting South Africa for 3 ODIs and as many T20Is and Zimbabwe for 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is.
Overall, most teams are set to have a busy calendar giving the fans plenty to cheer and talk about throughout this season. It is very little compared to what the entire world is going through but is certain to bring joy and excitement all around the globe. We here at International Cricket Network – ICN 360 eagerly look forward to bringing more and more cricketing action to you.