Will England and India bin the Old Trafford Test?

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We’re intrigued by the formality of cricket board requests. India have asked England if the whole of the upcoming Test series can be shunted forwards a week or alternatively whether the fifth Test, at Old Trafford, could be cancelled. But they’ve apparently only done this “informally”.

So it’s not an actual, official request. It’s just a thing that they want to happen, that they’ve actually asked for, that has been widely reported in newspapers.

It is a thing that is out there, as public knowledge, that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will have to respond to somehow or other. That response will also be public knowledge and will have some sort of impact on future relations between the two boards.

But – just to be clear – it isn’t an official request.

As we’re sure you’re aware, the reason the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wants to somehow finish the England Test series early is so that they can polish off the rest of the IPL in some empty stadiums somewhere in the world.

Ali Martin reports that the rest of the IPL is worth around £200m in telly money. Plus humanity presumably still needs people to play T20 cricket for it at some point or other.

Lord knows, we’re no expert in negotiations, but it strikes us that “please change every single Test match” is the ludicrous opening offer that lays the groundwork for face-saving supposed ‘compromise’. That “compromise” could well be the ditching of the Old Trafford Test.

You know the drill. The ECB says it held firm on tearing up its entire summer, but made this one small concession. “At least this way we’re only talking about disappointing tens of thousands of people who’ve bought tickets and planned a day out after 18 months stuck in their fucking houses,” says a spokesperson.

Or maybe they won’t do this. Maybe the ECB will hold firm. Maybe they’ll make room for the IPL by pushing the World T20 back again. We’ve already got one postponed World T20 queued up. Why not make it two?

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  1. I’d like to informally request that they bin all the other Tests apart from the Old Trafford one that I have tickets for.

    Just informally though.

  2. I get it that scrillions in broadcasting money is at stake here, so the solution to the scheduling issues is likely to follow the cash…

    …but surely the easier and potentially more lucrative way to square this circle is to push the World T20 back a week, not bring the English summer forward. The location of the World T20 is still in doubt, so surely its scheduling is only minimally disrupted by a change of date…

    …unless that would jeopardise the “written in stone/no disease could possibly affect” dates and locations for our precious Ashes series in Oz. Unthinkable.

    1. The World T20 does seem to be the most pencilled-in of the engagements. Given there’s no certainty about what country it’ll be taking place in, you’d think the dates would be negotiable.

  3. Aha. The poor chaps here who have been getting their requests rejected by the royalty now have an answer. They should put in “informal” requests to KC, none of this formal stuff. I am sure there’s going to be a lot more fan mails and fan replies around here.

    1. Superb point, DC.

      KC – I know you don’t do formal requests, but, informally, many people in your kingdom would appreciate a slight rescheduling of the on-line cricket top trumps game, from the non-functioning schedule to the functioning schedule.

      1. Could we compromise on the game transitioning to the functioning schedule on full moon days?

      2. Could we crowdfund some actual physical Top Trumps cards, or do the Top Trumps people (whose website has the slightly worrying combination of the tagline “whatever you’re into, so are we” immediately above a button labelled ‘Adults’) own all the rights to that sort of thing?

        I’m fairly sure there are podcasts/etc who have made their own Top Trumps cards as part of their fundraising activity.

  4. Can we please award the 2021 Lord Megachief of Gold now? Darren Stevens has just scored another hundred.

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