“Massive missed opportunity”, Mark Butcher feels ECB should have altered India Tests schedule to accommodate IPL

BCCI had informally made a request to shift the five-match Test series between India and England.

India and England are slated to play five Tests from August 4 to September 14 | GettyIn order to complete the suspended IPL 2021, the BCCI last week reportedly made an informal request to the ECB to shift the five-Test series between India and England, starting August 4, but it hasn’t yielded any favourable result.

In fact, ECB managing director Ashley Giles on Thursday (May 27) made it clear that “the matches will be where they are” and England players won’t be released for the remaining 31 games of IPL 14.

Amid the recent development, former England cricketer Mark Butcher has opined that the ECB should have agreed to change the Test series schedule to accommodate IPL restart.

See Also: Second leg of IPL will resume tentatively on September 18 or 19 – Report

According to Butcher, ECB’s gesture would have given them the leverage to rope in top Indian players for ‘The Hundred’ tournament.

“Well, listen. I take a deep breath here … as does the nation. I think it’s a massive missed opportunity,” Butcher said during the latest Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast.

“…the ECB is absolutely desperate to make this (Hundred) work. They have to be, they have bet the house on The Hundred, but at every turn, it seems a greater power doesn’t want it to happen,” he added.

“And so for me, this was the opportunity where you’ll say ‘Okay, we’ll bite the bullet… We would do this for the BCCI on the proviso that we get Kohli, Dhoni, whoever we like, signed up for three years to play in The Hundred, starting 2022’.”

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic doing major damage to the international and domestic fixture-list, the 100-ball tournament couldn’t be launched last year.

“And you have leverage for the first time ever: you have something that they need, that they want. Obviously, the BCCI will lose a lot of money if they don’t get the IPL in the window,” Butcher said.

“You also have the extraordinary spectacle of the IPL being finished at the behest or because of English cricket. And you use that lever in order to get something you desperately need. So I think there’s an opportunity missed.”

The 14th edition of Indian Premier League was postponed indefinitely on May 4 after multiple COVID-19 cases were reported inside the bio-bubble of various franchises.

According to a PTI report, the second leg of the cash-rich tournament will resume tentatively on September 18 or 19 UAE, with as many as 10 double-headers expected to be played during a three-week window.

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 28 May, 2021

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