London: English cricket chiefs were forced to defend themselves from accusations of Ashes overkill yesterday after plans were announced for England and Australia to play 15 Tests against each other in 24 months.
England would be the hosts in 2013 before heading down under in winter 2013-14 to avoid a clash with Australia’s staging of the 2015 World Cup.
The 2017 Ashes in England would then be brought forward to the summer of 2015 to prevent a lengthy gap between meetings.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) marketing boss Steve Elworthy told the reporters: “We want to break the cycle of the World Cup and Ashes arriving at once, get enough distance between the events, make sure the players have enough catch-up time and we want to protect the Ashes brand.”
“It’s important to maintain momentum. There’s a huge resurgence for Test cricket right now, a massive wave of interest.”
“With the home-and-away nature of the Ashes, fans will really have something to look forward to. Everyone wants to see the arch-rivals meet.”
Cricket Australia and the ECB would both have to agree the proposals before they could be included in the forthcoming International Cricket Council future tours programme.