In 2020, as was the case for all teams, the Indian men’s cricket side played much lesser cricket than they usually would across a calendar year. In total, by the end of the year, India played four Tests, nine One-Day Internationals and 11 T20 Internationals which was the least in a while.
While 2020 was a year of uncertainty, the upcoming year is also probably going to be a difficult one to predict. There are chances that some series might get rescheduled, tours might get shortened, amongst other things. Currently, though, there are a few huge tours and tournaments that Virat Kohli and co. have lined up and here are four such big events to look forward to.
ICC T20 WORLD CUP
Despite being one of the prominent teams in world cricket over the last decade, the Men in Blue’s last ICC Trophy was the Champions Trophy triumph in 2013. Since then, they’ve reached a couple of finals and the final four a few times but have failed to reach the summit in an ICC tournament. This is something they would be desperate to change at the next T20 World Cup, a competition they haven’t won since the inaugural edition in 2007.
Originally, there was a T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in Australia in 2020, followed by one in India in 2021, but unfortunately the former had to be rescheduled to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite their team selection coming under criticism, India have done quite well in the 20-over format over the last 4+ years, winning 43 out of 61 completed matches since the last World T20. Home advantage could also prove to be a bonus.
ENGLAND TOUR OF INDIA
England are the only team to have defeated India in a Test series in India in the last 16 years. But that was in 2012 and both teams have largely different squads now. India have been incredibly dominant at home since that series, winning every series and losing just one Test since the start of 2013. In fact, the last time England played a Test series in India, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-0 drubbing.
The two teams are scheduled to face off in a four-Test series starting on 5 February 2021, with the first two games in Chennai, followed by a couple of matches in Ahmedabad. Depending on what happens in the remaining three Tests during the tour of Australia, this series could turn out to be very crucial as far as the ICC World Test Championship is concerned, but more on that later.
After the Tests, there are five T20Is and three ODIs scheduled as well. The T20I series will be especially important as India and England are considered as two of the favourites for the T20 World Cup scheduled for later in the year.
INDIA TOUR OF ENGLAND
While India will host England in a Test series at the start of the year, the reverse is scheduled a few months later. On India’s last three tours to England, they have an abysmal record in the five-day format – two wins, one draw and 11 losses from 14 Test matches. This is something that they would want to correct this time around, but it isn’t going to be easy with England possessing a terrific pace-bowling line-up in home conditions, while India’s batting has been far from ideal on their travels.
The Test series is currently scheduled to take place in August and September, consisting of five matches at Trent Bridge, Lord’s, Headingley, The Oval and Old Trafford.
ICC TEST CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL – PROBABLE?
After their first three series in the ICC World Test Championship, it looked almost certain that India would make the final of the newly-introduced competition. After all, they had won all their matches during those three series and, as a result, accumulated a perfect points tally until then. But the scenario has changed since, especially due to the 2-0 series loss against New Zealand at the start of 2020.
Depending on results in the ongoing Australia-India Test series and the second Test between New Zealand and Pakistan, India could have an uphill task when face England in February. They need a few results to go their way, but it’s not going to be easy as they are up against a strong Australian side Down Under. While it seems difficult now, if India do qualify for the final, they will travel to play the final at Lord’s during the English summer.
According to the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, India are scheduled to host New Zealand and travel to South Africa for Tests as well, but dates haven’t been confirmed yet with both events set to take place in the last few months of the year. The 2020 Asia Cup – a T20 tournament this time – was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are plans to hold the event in Sri Lanka around June 2021.