KARACHI: Pakistan are scheduled to face traditional rivals India in March-April 2013, according to the draft of the Future Programme (FTP) for the period from 2012 to 2020 to be finalised at the forthcoming annual meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Hong Kong.
The FTP scheduling, however, neither mention the number of matches to be played nor the programme beyond the 2013 period. But the draft heavily favours major countries with England, Australia and India having more international games than other teams.
Pakistan, who have been now confined to play away from home following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore two years ago, are tentatively scheduled to play 65 Tests in the eight-year period although that number could change once the FTP is finalised by all stakeholders.
England have the most number of Tests with no less 99 five-day fixtures over the next eight years, followed by Australia (92) and India (90). Sri Lanka are slated to play 76 Test matches while South Africa have got 74 Tests scheduled. West Indies and New Zealand have 66 Tests apiece in the pipeline.
At the other end of the table, minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are allotted only 42 and 41 Tests, respectively.
India have the major chunk of One-day Internationals with the World Cup 2011 winners getting 166 such matches in the new FTP. Zimbabwe, in contrast, have been given only 64 ODIs while all other nations will play between 100 and 160 games.
On the Twenty20 front, the ICC have judiciously cut down the matches to keep Test and ODI formats alive, with most teams slated to play between 30 and 55 games. Here again Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are treated with scan respect as they have been allowed mere 11 fixtures each.
India, who financially overwhelmingly rule the ICC, will not play hosts to both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in either Test or ODI until 2020. In addition, the powerful Indian cricket board has managed to acquire unofficial window for the IPL in April and May.
Moreover, India will be the only team apart from England and Australia to play five-Test series in the new schedule. India’s tours to England in 2014 and 2018 will include five Tests. Apart from the Ashes series, no other team will get the chance to figure in a five-Test series.