The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the first and only domestic T20 competition to be acknowledged by the ICC as an official global event, thus preventing virtually any international cricket from coinciding with the competition.
The next Future Tours Programme (FTP) cycle runs from 2019-2023, and places the IPL alongside the likes of the World Cup, World T20 and Champions Trophy as exempt from international game clashes. International games will be halted between April and May, as cricket’s most lucrative domestic league takes centre stage, as usual, featuring the likes of Steve Smith, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson.
Many top international cricketers have sacrificed playing for their country in order to fulfil IPL duties, most notably Chris Gayle who spends much of his year in various different countries playing in their respective T20 leagues. Players who sign IPL contracts can now guarantee that from 2019, they will not miss any international cricket during the domestic campaign.
During the five seasons included on the proposed cycle, there are a few matches that currently would still overlap with the IPL schedule. These exceptions are England’s three-match ODI series against the Netherlands, who sit at No.13 in the world rankings, and two series between Zimbabwe and Ireland.
The past 10 years of IPL cricket have proved the catalyst for many global, lucrative T20 leagues such as the Big Bash in Australia and the Pakistan Super League. The ICC and the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) have been tentative to include the IPL in the FTP cycle in recent years, for fear of setting an unsustainable precedent. There seems to have been a switch in attitudes, however, and these changes establish the IPL as the most powerful and popular league in world cricket.