After the highly anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) Final, Indian cricket stars, including Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, are set to enjoy a month-long break before their next assignment. The scheduled series between India and Afghanistan has been put on hold, as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) prefers to prioritize player rest and rejuvenation ahead of the upcoming West Indies tour.
The Indian cricket team has been engaged in a relentless schedule, with little respite for the players. While some individuals have managed intermittent breaks, there has been a continuous stream of matches and tournaments. Therefore, following the demanding IPL 2023 season, this will be the first opportunity in a year for Team India to hit the reset button and recharge their batteries. The team is expected to depart for the West Indies tour in the first week of July.
A senior BCCI official stated, “Yes, there will be a break after the WTC Final. We are still exploring the possibility of hosting the Afghanistan series. However, given the complexities of the broadcaster deal and the upcoming West Indies tour, it appears challenging. Hence, this window provides the perfect opportunity for the players to rest and recuperate.”
The proposed series between India and Afghanistan was set to feature three One Day Internationals (ODIs) initially, with discussions later including the prospect of a T20 series. Unfortunately, both plans have been put on hold.
The primary reason behind the delay is the absence of a broadcasting partner. The BCCI’s previous deal with Disney-Star concluded with the Australia ODI series, leaving the board without a current broadcasting agreement. Although the BCCI intended to initiate the tender process for BCCI Media Rights, it has taken longer than expected. Consequently, the idea of securing a temporary broadcasting partner for the Afghanistan series arose.
However, given that the India vs Afghanistan series is not expected to yield substantial value and could potentially impact the media rights deal, neither broadcasters nor the BCCI are interested in a short-term arrangement.
As a result, the BCCI is finalizing the tenders for the BCCI Media Rights deal. The Afghanistan ODI series, rather than being scheduled for the June window, is now likely to be played in September, either before or after the Australia series. This revised timeline will offer both teams an ideal opportunity for practice ahead of the World Cup in 2023.
“We will aim to host the series in September. We are in constant communication with the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) regarding possible dates. Once the West Indies itinerary is finalized, we will have a clearer picture and can confirm the dates for the series,” the official concluded.