The managing director of England men's cricket Ashley Giles has made it clear that there will be no change in the schedule of the series against India. Reflecting on the selection of Sam Billings for the New Zealand Tests, he said that Billings put himself into contention by playing for Kent.
In the last few weeks, there have been a lot of speculations around the restart of the IPL and the possible ways of accommodating it in the cricketing calendar. One of the options was to start the England Test series earlier than scheduled so that there can be a bigger window for the cash-rich league. As per the original schedule, the five-match Test series between India and England will end by September 14, if the fifth Test goes into the fifth and final day. After reports indicated to the ECB denying any changes in the original schedule, it has now been officially confirmed by Ashley Giles.
England's managing director made it clear that the five-match Test series will take place as it’s supposed to and also added that there hasn't been any request from the BCCI for any sort of changes in the schedule of the series.
"I'm not aware of anything official, any requests to shift anything. As far as we're concerned and what we're prepared for, the matches will be where they are. I'm not surprised there's all sorts of speculation. Everyone wants to get their cricket in. But we've not received anything official and we're cracking on," Giles said, reported ESPNCricinfo.
The rearranged IPL is likely to clash with England's tours of Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively. Giles added that England will be following their full schedule for the impending tours.
"We have a full schedule. If we go from the end of the fifth Test in September, we are set to leave for Bangladesh on September 19 or 20. We have a full schedule right through including Pakistan and wherever the T20 World Cup is,” Giles said.
He also made it clear that the English players will get rested from the forthcoming tours but not for the purpose of playing somewhere else.
"We are going to have to give some of these guys a break at some point. But the intention of giving guys a break for, say, Bangladesh, wouldn't be for them to go and play cricket elsewhere.
"We have to manage our schedule now, so we get our guys arriving in the best shape possible for the T20 World Cup and the Ashes."
The former England spinner also asserted that there has been an effort to provide as much time off as possible to the players who participated in the IPL.
"I think we felt the best option was to [allow the IPL players to] take as much time as they needed after what they've been through this winter," Giles said. "If there was a strong case from the players to get back on the horse a bit earlier and play some cricket then we were prepared to listen to that as well. They know their bodies and minds as well as anyone."
After Ben Foakes got injured, Sam Billings was called up to the squad for the two-match Test series against New Zealand. Giles said that he had played for Kent and that's how he put himself into contention for a spot in the squad. Notably, Billings hadn’t played a lot in the 2021 IPL.
"That was the case with Billings. He went back to Kent and played some cricket to put himself in the frame."
Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler were rested from the series against New Zealand. Despite the cancellation of the IPL, they weren't included in the side and Giles revealed that the communication was done properly by the team's coach Chris Silverwood.
"Communication was made from [head coach] Chris Silverwood to those players [Bairstow and Buttler] about what the plan was. We felt there was no need to go back on that. They've been spending time with families and Jos is away for a few days at the moment. We didn't want to drag those players out of that at the 11th hour. There was no plan to change that."