KARACHI: The dates of the Pakistan Super League’s 10th edition are set to clash with the Indian Premier League for the first time in 2025 after the International Cricket Council announced the Future Tours Programme cycle for the next four years on Wednesday.
But having to compete with unarguably the strongest franchise cricket tournament in the world is not concerning the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The February-March window, which accommodates the PSL in normal circumstances, will be occupied by the ICC Champions Trophy in 2025. The cash rich league in that year, therefore, is scheduled for March-May, almost partly simultaneous with the IPL’s extended window, which runs till the beginning of June.
The clash with the IPL will mean top international players will be unavailable to participate in the PSL, due to the massive amount of money on offer for them in India.
The PCB, however, is looking at the scenario from a different angle. The “philosophy” at the board’s offices is that the PSL “doesn’t need to rely on foreign players to attract eye balls”.
“It’s the local players that make the tournament worth watching,” a PCB official told Dawn on Wednesday.
For the PCB, the PSL’s clash of dates with the IPL may fall in Pakistan’s favour. During the IPL’s window, no international cricket is scheduled, which, according to the official “makes more players available to choose from”.
“The IPL may attract the best of the best players but the best ones will play in the PSL,” said the official.
Dawn understands the PCB preferred giving the national side match practice ahead of the Champions Trophy by scheduling its visit to New Zealand for three One-day Internationals and two T20 games in January 2025 and hosting the Black Caps and South Africa for a 50-over tri-nation series just ahead of the ICC event rather than sticking with the regular PSL window.
Tri-nation cricket will also return to Pakistan’s calendar for the first time since 2004-05 and it will host England and Sri Lanka its second such tournament in October-November 2026.
Pakistan is also set to host the 50-over Asia Cup in September next year. However, there is high probability that India will decline to travel across the border for the continental event due to tense political relations between the neighbouring countries.
Sources said the Asia Cup is organised by the Asian Cricket Council and “a situation where one of the participants pull out is for the ACC to deal with.”
The ICC World Cup in India follows after the Asia Cup and, according to a source, Pakistan will not hesitate to travel for that. However, if India does not return the favour by visiting Pakistan for the Champions Trophy less than two years later, there are chances the PCB boycotts the 2026 T20 World Cup, also to be hosted by India.
The allocation of the Champions Trophy to Pakistan, however, was approved by the ICC board, which has the representation of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI).
According to the FTP, Pakistan will play the lowest number of Test matches (27) as compared to other Test-playing nations. However, all of Pakistan’s Test matches will be played as part of the 2023-25 and 2025-27 World Test Championship cycles.
Three Test-playing countries — Bangladesh, New Zealand and South Africa — have decided to play series against the likes of Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe — teams that are not part of the WTC — while Pakistan have refrained from that, specially due to the fact that hosting Test cricket is expensive with the extensive nature of the format.
Pakistan’s inability to play against India also costs them a minimum of six Test matches, hence a lower number of games than its WTC opponents. The national side still plays one more Test than its last four-year FTP cycle.
In the WTC, Pakistan will play Tests against Australia (away), Bangladesh (home), England (home), South Africa (away), Sri Lanka (away) and West Indies (home), while their matches in the 2025-2027 championship are against Bangladesh (away), England (away), New Zealand (home), South Africa (home), Sri Lanka (home) and West Indies (away).
‘ONE-EYE’ ON ICC EVENTS
Pakistan have ensured they go well-prepared in ICC’s global events.
“Pakistan will play 11 T20Is against the Netherlands, Ireland and England in the build up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, which will be jointly hosted by the United States and the West Indies,” said a PCB statement.
Ahead of the 2026 T20 World Cup, Pakistan will host Australia for a three-match T20 series.
Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe will also play white-ball matches in Pakistan between 2023 and 2027.
In total, Pakistan will feature in around 238 days of international cricket during the four-year FTP period comprising 27 WTC fixtures (13 home and 14 away), 47 ODIs (26 home and 21 home) and 56 T20Is (27 home and 29 away).
These include matches in the 50-over Asia Cup and the Champions Trophy respectively.
“While finalising our Future Tours Programme 2023-2027 in a tight and densely-packed cricket calendar, we have given priority to context, quality and player workload,” PCB chief executive officer Faisal Hasnain said in a statement.
“We have also tried to find an appropriate balance across all the three formats so that these continue to co-exist meaningfully.”
Pakistan men’s Future Tours Programme 2023-2027: 2023-24:
July: Pakistan to Sri Lanka (two Tests)
August: Pakistan to Afghanistan (three ODIs)
September: ACC 50-over Asia Cup in Pakistan
October-November: ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup India 2023
December-January: Pakistan to Australia (three Tests)
February-March: West Indies in Pakistan (two Tests, three T20Is)
May: Pakistan to Netherlands (three T20Is), Ireland (three T20Is) and England (five T20Is)
June: ICC Men’s T20 World Cup USA/West Indies 2024
August: Bangladesh in Pakistan (two Tests)
October: England in Pakistan (three Tests)
November: Pakistan to Australia (three ODIs and three T20Is)
November-December: Pakistan to Zimbabwe (three ODIs and three T20Is)
December-January: Pakistan to South Africa (two Tests, three ODIs, three T20Is)
January: Pakistan to New Zealand (three ODIs and three T20Is)
February: New Zealand and South Africa in Pakistan (ODI tri-series)
February-March: ICC Champions Trophy Pakistan 2025
May: Bangladesh in Pakistan (three ODIs and three T20Is)
July-August: Pakistan to West Indies (three ODIs, three T20Is)
August: Afghanistan in Pakistan (three T20Is)
August-September: ACC T20 Asia Cup (host/venue TBC)
September-October: Ireland in Pakistan (three ODIs, three T20Is)
October-November: South Africa in Pakistan (two Tests, three ODIs, three T20Is)
November: Sri Lanka in Pakistan (three ODIs, three T20Is)
February: Australia in Pakistan (three T20Is)
February-March: ICC Men’s T20 World Cup India/Sri Lanka 2026
March: Australia in Pakistan (three ODIs)
March-April: Pakistan to Bangladesh (two Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is)
April-May: Zimbabwe in Pakistan (three ODIs and three T20Is)
July-August: Pakistan to West Indies (two Tests)
August-September: Pakistan to England (three Tests)
October: Sri Lanka in Pakistan (three T20Is)
October-November: England and Sri Lanka in Pakistan (ODI tri-series)
November: Sri Lanka in Pakistan (two Tests)
March: New Zealand in Pakistan (two Tests)
HBL Pakistan Super League (tentative windows during the 2023-2027 cycle):
2026: December 2025/January 2026
Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022