Former England opener Mark Butcher suggested that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should have accepted the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) request for a tweak in the scheduling for the upcoming five-Test series in order to make a window for the second half of the IPL 2021.
Butcher further said that in exchange, ECB should have asked BCCI to let the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli play in the inaugural edition of the Hundred tournament, to give it a huge boost.
The Indian Board had informally made a request to shift the five-match Test series between India and England, starting August 4, by a week in order to accommodate the remaining 31 IPL 2021 games but ECB director of cricket Ashley Giles has confirmed that England will not tweak the schedule that has been decided.
I Think ECB Have Missed A Massive Opportunity By Not Accepting BCCI’s Request: Mark Butcher
The BCCI is looking to find days in order to form a comfortable window to host the remaining matches of the IPL 2021 tournament, which preferably will be played in UAE from September-October. The BCCI had informally asked the ECB to reduce the number of days between the second and third Tests from 9 days.
Mark Butcher said that the ECB should have accepted the request as that would have given them leverage to get top Indian cricketers such as Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni for ‘The Hundred’ tournament.
“Well, listen. I take a deep breath here … as does the nation. I think it’s a massive missed opportunity. The ECB is absolutely desperate to make this (Hundred) work. They have to be, they have bet the house on The Hundred, but at every turn, it seems a greater power doesn’t want it to happen,” said the 48-year-old Butcher.
“And so for me, this was the opportunity where you’ll say ‘Okay, we’ll bite the bullet… We would do this for the BCCI on the proviso that we get Kohli, Dhoni, whoever we like, signed up for three years to play in The Hundred, starting 2022’,” he added.
The inaugural edition of ‘The Hundred’, a 100-ball tournament involving eight men’s and women’s teams, was postponed from its original launch date in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And you have leverage for the first time ever: you have something that they need, that they want. Obviously, the BCCI will lose a lot of money if they don’t get the IPL in the window. You also have the extraordinary spectacle of the IPL being finished at the behest or because of English cricket. And you use that lever in order to get something you desperately need. So I think there’s an opportunity missed,” Butcher stated his case.
According to a senior BCCI official, the IPL is now expected to resume on September 18 or with as many as 10 double-headers expected to be played during a three-week window.