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India to play 74 Tests, 208 ODIs in 6 yrs: ICC

India will play 74 Tests and up to 208 one-day internationals (ODI) against various teams in six years, between 2006 and 2012, as per the new Future Tours Programme (FTP) announced in Dubai on Tuesday.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 22:48 IST

India's first series under the new FTP is the tour of the West Indies where they will play four Tests and five one-day internationals, starting May 18, said the International Cricket Council (ICC) while announcing the FTP.

But the first series under the FTP will be the England-Sri Lanka Tests that begin with a game at Lord's on Thursday.

India will play several 'additional' one-day internationals, as the ICC pointed out in the six-year schedule. Ironically, the FTP comes at a time when a global debate is on how much cricket players should play in a year.

The ICC also announced the guidelines, suggesting the volume of cricket for each team should not exceed 15 Test matches and 30 one-day internationals in a 12-month period.

The Indian team will, however, be exceeding this limit several times, as per the ICC schedule.

In all, India will play between 173 and 208 ODIs -- the maximum by any country. The country that plays the second highest number of ODIs is Australia -- between 151 and 178 matches.

So far as Tests are concerned, India is only second to England. While England play 75 or 76 Tests over this six-year period, India will play 74 Tests.

Zimbabwe play the least number of matches -- 39 Tests and anything between 97 and 111 one-day internationals.

ICC declared the new six-year cycle for the 10 Test playing countries. It also involves six top associate member countries that will play only one-day internationals.

The FTP allows member countries to tailor the schedule to suit their own specific needs while preserving time in the calendar to accommodate icon series such as The Ashes and India-Pakistan on a four-year cycle.

The six-year cycle has been finalised after a two-year research and has gone under 10 drafts before taking the final shape, said ICC CEO Malcolm Speed.

The new FTP retains the core commitment to reciprocal tours for full members but expands the touring cycle from five years, under the previous FTP, to six years.

And for the first time, ODIs involving the top six associate members have also been enshrined in the FTP.

"Now that the process has been completed and approved by our members, it provides them with certainty of scheduling right through until 2012," said Speed.

The FTP was put together on the basis of guidelines supported by the ICC Cricket Committee, players at the captains' meeting and by player representatives, including Federation of International Cricketers' Association.

The FTP, which was unanimously approved by the ICC's executive board at its March meeting in Dubai, provides the foundation for a balanced schedule of international cricket for ICC full members.

First Published: May 09, 2006 22:48 IST