IPL 2020, COVID-19 Crisis Push India-England Limited-Overs Series To Next Year
England last toured India in the 2016-17 cricket season. (AFP)

England cricket team’s limited-overs tour of India has been postponed until early 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ECB and BCCI confirmed on Friday (August 7). England were scheduled to tour India in September for six games — three T20s and as many ODIs — and then return again in January 2021 to play five Tests.

While the ECB cited the prevailing COVID-19 conditions in India, the tour would also have clashed with the revised dates of the Indian Premier League (IPL), scheduled from September 19 to November 10 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The IPL was due to be held earlier this year — from March to May — but was postponed due to the pandemic.

However, the postponement of the Men’s T20 World Cup, which was to be held from October 18 to November 5 in Australia, made way for the IPL.

The ECB and BCCI are now in discussions for a tour that will include games across formats from January to late March next year.

ECB’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said:

“Now that we have clarity regarding the postponement of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, it enables us to work with other Boards to progress the vital task of optimizing the international schedules in the challenging circumstances that we have all been having to address with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“International cricket between India and England is a highlight of the cricketing calendar and we look forward to working with the BCCI to firm-up the schedules for these eagerly anticipated tours as soon as possible.”

Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI, added:

“The BCCI and ECB are working closely to finalise the schedule as we move towards the resumption of cricket. The India-England series is one of the most anticipated contests in world cricket. The two teams compete hard on the field and provide some riveting moments.

“I am pleased with the way BCCI and ECB have managed the situation. The rescheduled tour is also being redesigned in a way to accommodate both red and white-ball format and will now be a comprehensive one.”

The COVID-19 case count has exceeded the 20-lakh mark in India.