The Indian Cricket Team had enjoyed a decent 2015 performance wise. They registered a couple of historic Test series triumphs – winning 1-2 in the away series against Srilanka and obliterating South Africa by 3-0 at home – and lost just one of the 9 Tests played during the year. Virat Kohli took over as India’s permanent Test captain after MS Dhoni decided to call time on his Test career with the conclusion of the Boxing Day Test in December 2014. India’s performances in the One-day and Twenty20 formats of the game were quite flimsy. They managed to get to the semifinals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 played in Australia and New Zealand, but won just one other series – against Zimbabwe – in the last eight months of the calendar year. The ODI series losses to Bangladesh (away) and South Africa (at home) were the lowest points for the Men in Blue in 2015.
Looking ahead to the year (2016) we have just stepped into, what is the schedule for the Indian cricket team?
Indian Cricket Team’s 2016 Schedule
Indian cricket fans can see their national side in action for the first time in the New Year when India travel to Australia and play them in a five-match ODI and three-match T20I series. India’s tour of Australia begins on the 12th of January, with the two teams first facing off in the ODIs before the three T20Is, which will help them prepare for the sixth edition of the ICC World Twenty20 to be played in India. W.A.C.A in Perth, ‘Gabba in Brisbane, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Manuka Oval in Canberra, Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), and Adelaide Oval are the venues for the eight games in all, between Australia and India.
Series between India and Australia are always of interest to the fans and the two teams have been involved in many close, fierce contests over the years. Losing to the eventual winners of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in the semifinals stage will be fresh in the minds of the Men in Blue, who therefore will look to avenge for the big loss they endured last March.
Following the conclusion of their 20-day tour of Australia on January 31st, India welcome the Lankan Lions for a three-match T20I series at home. The dates for this series have yet to be announced, but the three games will take place at Vishakapatnam, Pune and Delhi.
The T20 series against Srilanka will be India’s final preparation before the ICC World Twenty20 2016, with India hosting the biennial tournament for the first time. Dhoni’s India find themselves in what could be considered the ‘Group of death’, which includes Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and the winner of Group A from the qualifying round.
India get their World T20 campaign underway against the Blackcaps at Nagpur on March 15th. Four days later, on March 19th, they take on Pakistan, who, like India, have won the World T20 once and been finalists once, at the picturesque Dharamsala. On the 23rd, India will face the Group A winner, who will be one among Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland and Oman. India’s final Group 2 game in the super 10 stage will be against Australia, who they will face at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali on the 27th of March. The top two teams from groups 1 and 2 in the super 10 stage will progress to the semifinals, which will be played in Delhi and Mumbai. Eden Gardens in Kolkata will host the final on the 3rd of April.
On December 23rd, 2015, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) reached an agreement to resume cricketing ties between the two nations. West Indies prematurely pulled out of their tour of India in 2014, when, due to a payment structure dispute between the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) and WICB, the then Dwayne Bravo-led side returned home after playing in just four ODIs on the tour, which originally comprised of five ODIs, one T20 and three Tests. At the time, BCCI contemplated cutting all cricket ties with the West Indies. But, having reached an agreement, India look likely to tour the Caribbean according to the ICC’s bilateral tours’ programme, and will play in a four-Test series during July and August.
Once India return home from the Caribbean, they have two, highly-important series against New Zealand and England. New Zealand’s India of India 2016 comprises of three-Test and five-ODI series, with the touring Blackcaps potentially looking to win a Test series for the first time in India. The Poms are then scheduled to tour India for a five-match Test series during the months of November and December, as they will try to repeat their heroics from their 2012 tour of India.
2016 promises to be an exciting year for the Indian cricket team and their staunch supporters. India will be under pressure to perform well in the World T20, as the host, and go deep in the tournament, which will see Srilanka defend the title they won in 2014, in which edition they defeated India to the coveted title. That will be something to really look forward to this year. India may also play in a handful of other series, away to Zimbabwe, at home to Bangladesh and in the Asia Cup, which will be played in the Twenty20 format for the first time in its history.
Disclaimer: The aforementioned fixtures and dates are subject to change.