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World Test Championship 2021/23

India Men are about to go on an unprecedented sabbatical… for a month

Indian Men's Team will get a month-long break after the WTC Final
by Naman Agarwal 3 minute read

In a rare occurrence, India Men will get around a month-long break from international cricket after the conclusion of the World Test Championship final against Australia. Here is why this is interesting.

India were supposed to play an ODI series against Afghanistan in June after the conclusion of the World Test Championship final. However, that series has been postponed due to BCCI not having a broadcasting partner at the moment.

This means that their next scheduled appointment is a full-fledged tour of the West Indies in July and August.


The final schedule for that tour is not out yet. In case the series starts on the tentatively scheduled July 12, it will mark the first instance of the Indian senior men’s team going more than 30 days with no scheduled competitive cricket (international or IPL) since cricket resumed after Covid in 2020.

That’s right – ever since Steve Smith hit the first of his twin-62-ball hundreds in the first ODI of the India-Australia series on November 27, 2020, India Men have not gone through a 30-day period where without international cricket – except for the breaks during the IPL, which are not really breaks.

In this span of time, India have played a total of 134 international matches across formats, including 27 Test matches, 42 ODIs, and 65 T20Is. No other team has played more than 120. New Zealand are second on the list with 116 games, followed by West Indies and England with 112 and 110 games respectively.

These numbers are despite the IPL occupying nearly two months every year, when every team other than India are free to play international cricket.

New Zealand, the second-most worked international team in the period in question, got a two-and-a-half-month break after their 2021 WTC final against India, and another two-month break just ahead of their England tour in 2021, and several other breaks of 25 or more days.

England recently played a Test match against Ireland after a break of more than 75 days. They had a gap of over a month between last year’s tours of Pakistan and South Africa as well, and several other breaks of a month or more in this period.

Australia, India’s opponents for the WTC Final, have not even played a total of 100 international games across formats in this period – 96 to be precise – almost 40 games fewer than India. Naturally, they have had longer gaps as well, including a hard-to-imagine four-month-long break between March and July 2021.

The longest India have gone between two international games since November 2020, excluding the IPL windows, is 24 days between the WTC final and the Sri Lanka tour of 2021. Of course, it may be argued that India sent a separate squad to Sri Lanka, while their Test match specialists stayed back in England.

This puts into perspective just how important and significant this upcoming break is going to be for the Indian team – if the BCCI does not change its mind, that is – especially in a World Cup year with a premium on managing workloads and keeping players fit.

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