The 2023 King Cricket Essentials Calendar

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If those who run cricket can’t make the cricket calendar comprehensible, we’ll just have to do it ourself.

Below you’ll find a month-by-month guide to the series and tournaments we’ll most likely be focusing on throughout this year.

Setting it out in writing is as much for us as it is for you.


You may or may not remember that we did this last year having long carried out a similar sifting with the cycling road race calendar.

Both sports have reached a point where major events aren’t always as major as they pretend to be with frequent overlaps diluting interest further. Maybe you enjoy having your attention knocked about, investing time in stories which then slip into the background when something bigger comes along. We don’t.

So what we do is we go through the coming year and we try and pick out the cricket we most give a toss about (give the greatest number of tosses about?). These are the games we’ll make an effort to follow.

A corollary of this is that a lot of the games we’ve omitted from this list are ones that we kind of wish weren’t being played; the kinds of matches that drain players and injure them and really do little more than sap our enthusiasm for bigger events.

It seems hypocritical to say there are too many matches at the same time as consuming them all, so these days we do our best to actively ignore tinpot bilateral one-day series and most of the T20 franchise competitions. (We’ll come back to this in a moment.)

The 2023 King Cricket Essentials Calendar


New Zealand v England, two Tests (men)

February to mid-March

India v Australia, four Tests (men)

T20 World Cup (women)


Bangladesh v Ireland, one Test (men)

April to May

First seven rounds of the County Championship


England v Ireland, one Test (men)

June to July

The Ashes (men), England v Australia, five Tests

The Ashes (women), one Test, three ODIs, three T20Is


The Hundred (men)

The Hundred (women)


Last four rounds of the County Championship

October to November

50-over World Cup (men)


South Africa v India, two Tests (men)

Hey, there’s a bit of formatting in that calendar of yours…

Yes, there is.

We’ve stuck our A-grade events – the focal points of the year – in bold. We’ve also stuck the two Hundreds in italics. The latter perhaps warrants an explanation.

Domestic T20 cricket does not, to us, feel like appointment-to-view cricket. It happens every year, for one thing, but it’s probably more to do with the best-known players always seeming to some degree detached from proceedings.

That’s not a comment on the way they go about things. It’s just acknowledgement that their loyalties are contractual and those contracts are short.

BUT. One of the ways you can make a tournament a bigger deal is by ensuring it’s the only gig in town. This is a thing that very rarely happens in cricket, but the two Hundreds stand alone in August, with no real rivals for cricket fans’ attentions from start to finish.

We are, in short, keeping an open mind. It’s cricket, with some great cricketers and a bunch of it will be on normal telly. This is what’s happening in August.

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  1. Hey, there’s a bit of formatting in that…

    Whoa, wait a moment, that’s not fair. You can’t go round asking yourself your own questions and then answering them. That’s like cheating and everything. And also, it’s a thorough lack of trust in your commenters that they won’t ask sufficiently good questions.

    I feel… diminished. I was all ready to ask that question. But no, it seems that we’re not needed round here any more. You just want a conversation with yourself. Well go right ahead, ignore us. See if we care.

    1. With a bit of optimism, you could have merely commented, “Hey, there’s a bit of formatting in that calendar of yours…” in the hope that we might then have added the word “Update” at the start of that subheading in a bid to pass it off as a response to a genuine comment.

  2. I worry that the word “essentials” can easily lose its currency, much like the word “Bazball”.

    The Essential Waitrose range includes products such as Parmigiano Reggiano. Now don’t get me wrong – I love the stuff. So does Daisy. But “essential”?

    I suppose, if the bold Ashes battles are a delightful large pasta dish for two, topped with tasty flakes of Essential Waitrose Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, the italicised Hundred is a brace of Essential Waitrose Tiramisu tubs:

    One of the main justifications for The Hundred was the notion that August was a gap in the international television schedules for cricket that was not met to that audience’s satisfaction by tests in England. They want sweets, not substantial meals, apparently.

      1. I reckon it’s “Essential Waitrose” as in ’tis the very essence of Waitrose. It is just a shorter way of writing that it’s “Quintessential Waitrose”.


    What’s all this obsession with fitness tests for players who are clearly of high international standard? Even world-class ones? First Lizelle Lee, now Dane van Niekerk. I know the Indian men’s team sticks to a rigid testing regime too. When Jonty Rhodes was coaching the (amateur!) internationals of Sweden – who to be fair after a lot of Afghan refugee migration are now better than you might think, including a win over the more traditional cricketing side of Denmark- he apparently caused a lot of turmoil by forcing them to score sufficiently well on fitness tests before they could be eligible for selection, regardless of international record or current club form.

    It’s a worrying trend if it’s already seeping down to those levels. Whither Dwayne Leverock? Will we see the likes of Samit Patel or Ian Blackwell again?

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