ENGLAND’S January 2022 tour of the West Indies (WI) will now feature five T20 Internationals (T20Is) – increased from three matches – to be followed by them returning to the Caribbean for three Test matches, in March – increased from the original two-Test series.
On Wednesday, Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced the scheduled match dates for England’s next tour of the region. It represents an expanded schedule to the original International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Future Tours Programme (FTP).
The T20I series bowls off from January 28 to February 5 while the extended Test series gets underway with a warm-up match on March 1 followed by the opening match on March 8. The venues for the matches are expected to be announced by the end of April.
According to the CWI statement, the Test series will be the first in which the two teams compete for the newly commissioned “Richards-Botham Trophy,” named in honour of WI batting icon Sir Vivian Richards and England’s great all-rounder Lord Botham.
“The new trophy pays tribute to the two legends whose rivalry and friendship embodies the close relationship and mutual respect between the two sides,” the release said.
The T20I series will be the biggest series, to date, between the two teams in the shortest form of the game and will be part of the preparations building up to the International Cricket Council’s Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia in October 2022.
Ricky Skerritt, CWI president said, “This expansion of next year’s England tour to the Caribbean is welcomed news for WI cricket and for the region’s tourism economy.
“It has come about because of the special relationship that has been developed between our respective boards and we are looking forward to working with ECB Chair Ian Watmore, and CEO Tom Harrison, to expand our partnership even further into new areas of cooperation and support.”
Skerritt added that talks have already begun on how the ECB can help CWI in its development programmes and was pleased that they had been showing so much interest to assist.
Johnny Grave CWI CEO said, “We are delighted that the ECB have agreed to increase the number of matches in their tour to the Caribbean next year. An England Tour to the WI is a special event, so by adding a third Test match and two T20Is to the original schedule it will enable more fans to watch the teams do battle and afford more of our countries the opportunity to host matches.”
The CWI statement also said the tour is expected to bring immense value to the region.
It read, “Each Test match worth between US$20-25m in economic impact country, or circa US$4m T20I match day (Source: 2016 and 2019 Independent Research from YouGov). (The whole tour (is) worth nearly US$100m to the region – media value of over US$35m in WI tourism promotion around the world.”
Ian Watmore, ECB chairman added that their cricket fraternity appreciated the support of the CWI, all its men’s and women’s players, in helping them host a full season of international cricket in the summer of 2020.
WI and England restarted the international cricket schedule following the outbreak of the pandemic, in mid-March 2020, when the maroon toured England in July. The teams played a three-match ICC World Test Championship Series in a bio-secure bubble at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.
Two months later, the regional women’s team also toured England for a five-match T20 series which they were swept 5-0.
Watmore said, “Following the conclusion of those tours to England we have been in discussions with CWI to understand how we can best support them moving forward and one way was to extend our existing England men’s tours to the Caribbean in 2022.”
Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board dubbed the 2022 “iconic”.
“The three-Test Match series will form part of the next ICC World Test Championship, whilst the additional IT20s will provide our England men’s team with valuable preparation ahead of the ICC World T20, which takes place in Australia later that year,” said Harrison.
The release also said that the tour of the Caribbean will bring closer ties between CWI and ECB which stem from last year’s tour of England.
It is geared towards reinvigorated Test rivalry with the Richards-Botham trophy and collaborating on the redevelopment plans of the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua - which will become the home of WI cricket, including a world-class High-Performance centre.
Both cricket association aim to establish a long-term strategic partnership.
T20Is - January 28, January 30, February 2, February 4 and February 5
Test Matches - March 1 to March 4 (warm-up match), March 8 to March 12 (1st Test), March 16 to March 20 (2nd Test) and March 24 to March 28 (3rd Test)