England will play 18 games in their 2020 home summer against four different opponents, the ECB confirmed on Wednesday.
The home summer begins later than usual, with the first of three Tests against West Indies starting at The Oval on June 4.
They will then play three T20Is and three ODIs against Australia, before a two-week window in which centrally contracted players will be made available to play in the early rounds of The Hundred. The new competition will begin on Friday, July 17, the day after the final ODI against Australia.
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Pakistan will then arrive for a tour comprising three Tests and three T20Is, before the summer ends with three ODIs against Ireland in September.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the later start to the summer will not necessarily mean that England’s Test stars are available for the whole IPL season. There will be scant opportunities for their all-format players like Joe Root, Ben Stokes, and Jos Buttler to play first-class cricket between the West Indies Tests and the Pakistan series, and with central contracts set to become more lucrative, it is expected that the ECB will encourage them to play at least some early-season County Championship games.
There are more T20Is than in recent years, as England continue their preparations for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November 2020.
Edgbaston will continue to host Finals Day of the T20 Blast, which will remain the longest T20 competition in the world. Finals Day will take place on September 5, with the opening rounds likely to start at the end of May.
As expected, Lord’s will no longer host the showpiece one-day final, with the 50-over competition’s climax set for Trent Bridge.
The ECB has also hinted that the Finals Day format – in which at least one semi-final is held directly before the final – will be continued for The Hundred, though the date and exact format remain unconfirmed.
Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, said, “The ICC World Test Championship will add significance and context to the Test Series against West Indies and Pakistan. Where every Test matters, there will be lots of points to play for as England continue their efforts to reach the inaugural World Test Championship final in June 2021.
“Alongside the red-ball matches, England’s ODI contests against Australia, and Ireland will see the World Champions return to home soil with big crowds expected at all venues. With further interest in T20I cricket, the six matches against Australia and the world number one side Pakistan will offer a fascinating guide to form ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia during the autumn of 2020.”
Zakir Khan, the PCB’s international cricket director, said, “A tour of England tests the skills and limits of the visiting sides and I anticipate this tour to help Pakistan furnish their red-ball skills and also prepare them for the all-important ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later in 2020.”
Richard Holdsworth, performance director for Cricket Ireland, said, “We ran the World Cup champions close at Malahide this year in a hard-fought ODI, and expect that as this side further evolves, it will be highly competitive come September 2020 backed by some great travelling and UK-based Irish support. The recent Test match at Lord’s demonstrated the interest in Irish cricket, and the series will be played across three iconic Test venues, so promises to be a great experience for all.”
England Men’s home international schedule, 2020
v West Indies
June 4-8 – First Test, The Oval
June 12-16 – Second Test, Edgbaston
June 25-29 – Third Test, Lord’s
July 3 – First T20I, Edgbaston
July 5 – Second T20I, Old Trafford
July 7 – Third T20I, Headingley
July 11 – First ODI, Lord’s
July 14 – Second ODI, Ageas Bowl
July 16 – Third ODI, Bristol
July 30 – First Test, Lord’s
August 7 – Second Test, Old Trafford
August 20 – Third Test, Trent Bridge
August 29 – First T20I, Headingley
August 31 – Second T20I, Cardiff
September 2 – Third T20I, Ageas Bowl
September 10 – First ODI, Trent Bridge
September 12 – Second ODI, Edgbaston
September 15 – Third ODI, The Oval
September 5 – T20 Blast Finals Day, Edgbaston
September 19 – One Day Cup final, Trent Bridge
tbc – The Hundred Finals Day