With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing a halt to much of the international cricket calendar in 2020, 2021 promises to be one of the busiest schedules for England in recent times.
There are already a staggering 17 Tests, nine ODIs and 17 T20Is confirmed in the diary for 2021, with the fifth Ashes Test scheduled for early 2022, not to mention a full schedule in the IPL as well as a T20 World Cup.
England have already been in action in 2021 when they wrapped up a 2-0 Test series win over Sri Lanka in Galle. It’s also worth remembering that dates for English domestic cricket and the inaugural The Hundred competition are still to be confirmed by the ECB.
We break it all down for you and take a closer look at what could be in store for the team across the year.
Note: A few tournaments below are based on the ICC 2018-2023 FTP and reports, but are yet to be confirmed by individual boards.
The complete England schedule for 2021 is as below:
England in Sri Lanka (January)
A phenomenal series for England captain Joe Root saw his side to a 2-0 win and five Test wins in a row away from home for the first time since 1914. This encounter was originally scheduled for 2020, but was postponed in the early days of the pandemic.
England in India (February-March)
Four Tests, five T20Is, three ODIs
Perhaps the toughest task for England’s players comes when they face India in India with the Test series starting early next month. The games will be held in bio-secure environments in Chennai, the brand new Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad and Pune.
The 14th season of the IPL moves back to its traditional slot in the year and comes less than 6 months after the conclusion of the previous, COVID-affected campaign. Whilst the auction is set to take place on February 18, there is already English interest in the tournament with the likes of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Eoin Morgan all re-signed by their existing franchises.
New Zealand in England (June)
A re-match of the 2019 World Cup final but this time contested in the longest format of the game. The world’s new number one Test team travel to England for the first time since 2015, a series that was drawn 1-1. The first Test will be held at Lord’s with the second staged at Edgbaston.
Sri Lanka in England (June-July)
Three T20Is, three ODIs
Sri Lanka then travel to England in search of avenging their Test series defeat earlier this month. The six-game white-ball series will see matches played across the country including two T20Is at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.
Pakistan in England (July)
Three ODIs, three T20Is
Just a year on from their previous visit to the UK, Pakistan head back to England in July. Last summer’s T20I series, which finished 1-1, was a hotly contested affair and we can expect more of the same this time around from Pakistan’s team of superstars.
India in England (August-September)
Joe Root’s side will then lock horns again with India at home less than six months after they made their visit to the subcontinent. The five-Test series will be India’s first bilateral tour to England since 2018 where they were beaten 4-1 by the hosts.
England in Pakistan (October)
A short tour not just important for final preparations ahead of the T20 World Cup but for world cricket too. This is the first time England will head back to Pakistan in 16 long years due to security concerns following the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore. It will be a special occasion in Karachi, the host venue for both fixtures.
ICC T20 World Cup 2021 (October-November)
After being postponed for a year in 2020, the 2021 men’s T20 World Cup will finally take place in India across October and November. There will be a total of 45 matches played among 16 teams and England will be looking to repeat their 2019 World Cup heroics but this time in the shortest format of the game.
England in Australia (November-January)
Five Tests (one in 2022)
A bumper year ends with the Ashes, which will take England into early 2022. A 2-2 draw in England in 2019 means Australia currently hold the urn. And if you were hoping that year would see a calming of the schedule, it features another T20 World Cup and the build-up to an ODI World Cup in 2023.