Confirming the rumor that the IPL will be an 84 or even 94 match competition in the near future, Shah said in an interview with PTI: “That is one aspect we have been working on. Let me inform you that from the next ICC FTP calendar, IPL will have an official window of two and a half months for all top international cricketers to participate. We have had discussions with several boards and with the ICC.”
The current ICC FTP, which runs from 2018 to 2023, will conclude with the men’s 50-over World Cup, to be played in India in October-November 2023. It was previously intended to be played in the first half of the year but had to be postponed to accommodate the many bilateral series and tournaments that have been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo during IPL 2022, there are several options on the table for the BCCI when it comes to extending the length – and therefore value – of the IPL, including organizing it into two phases annually.
“We are in talks with several stakeholders,” Shah said. “There are also multiple proposals for all IPL franchises to play friendly matches abroad. That idea is seriously considered, but for that we need to talk to other boards as well, because we need to know the schedule of international players.”
“In the future you have a scenario where the Indian test team plays a series in one country and the whiteball team plays a series in another country”
The main concern, if the IPL were to take more days each year, is how the international calendar, which is already overcrowded, will be affected. Shah stressed that the BCCI remained “committed” to international cricket.
“Indian cricket will stay strong as long as world cricket stays strong – let me assure you of this,” he said. “The BCCI is committed to international cricket. And it’s not just about India versus Australia or India versus England squads, we are committed to playing even the smaller countries.
“All bilateral international commitments in all formats will be honored. We only play against Ireland in two T20 Internationals this month. We want a strong, robust international circuit and want to help the smaller cricketing countries by playing against them.”
That could potentially put a huge workload on India’s best cricketers, especially those who play all formats. According to Shah, the BCCI is trying to find a way around the problem, but it could well mean that more than one Indian team engages in bilateral exchanges in different parts of the world at the same time.
“I’ve had conversations with NCA [National Cricket Academy] head VVS Laxman and we will always have 50 players in our roster,” said Shah. “In the future you will have a scenario, where the Indian test team will play a series in one country and the whiteball team will be involved in a series in another country.
“We are going in that direction where we have two national teams ready at the same time.”