Lahore - The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its Future Tours Programme (FTP) and eyebrows were raised at the paucity of matches afforded to Pakistan .

The men in green have garnered a reputation as one of the world’s most exciting teams due to their mercurial and unpredictable nature but play only 28 Tests and 38 ODIs in the four-year schedule running from May 2019 to May 2023. Pakistan’s 28 Tests are the joint-lowest of the established Test sides alongside New Zealand, with only Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland playing fewer games.

For comparison, India play 37 Tests, England play 46 and Australia play 40. Even Bangladesh, still considered as one of the minnows by many, play 35 Tests; 25% more than Pakistan . Tests are not the only format in which Pakistan fans can feel hard done by. Their 38 ODIs are the lowest of all teams, even lower than that of Afghanistan (41), Zimbabwe (40) and Ireland (42). Again for comparison, arch-rivals India play 61 ODIs, West Indies play 62 and Sri Lanka play 48.

Pakistan also play 38 T20Is in the four years — also the joint-lowest of the established Test-playing nations . Even Ireland play six more T20Is, while India play 61, West Indies 55 and New Zealand play 49.

Interestingly, the proposed program does not have a single series between Pakistan and India. The proposed FTP will be presented for initial approval before the ICC’s chief executive committee in February, and once approved, it will be presented for final approval from the ICC board in June 2018. The new FTP has also provided Indian Premier League (IPL) a bilateral free window, which means no team will be playing any bilateral cricket between April and May.

The four-year program will see two cycles of ICC Test leagues in which each side will play six selected opponents in two years’ cycle, before two top teams meet for ICC Test championship final. Pakistan will host South Africa, and tour Australia and New Zealand for Tests in 2019-20. In 2020-21, Pakistan will host Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and tour England.

The final of first Test championship is penciled to be held in June 2021. In year 2021-22, Pakistan will host Australia, and tour Bangladesh and West Indies for Tests. In 2022-23, Pakistan will host England and New Zealand for home series, and tour Sri Lanka for the away series to complete the second cycle of Test Championship.

Pakistan will also host home ODIs against Australia and Zimbabwe in 2020-21, it will also play away series against Afghanistan and a 13th team to be joined later in same season as part of ICC ODI league. In 2021-22, Pakistan team will play ODI league series against New Zealand and West Indies at home, and England and South Africa at away venues.

Window for ICC events are also penciled in the new FTP with World Cup 2019 to be held between May 30 and July 14. The ICC World T20 in 2020 will be held from October 24 to November 15. ICC Champions Trophy in 2021 will be held from October 27 to November 14, while World Cup 2023 will be played from February 9 to March 26.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is waiting for a decision on its dispute claim against India before finalising its slot for ICC’s proposed future tour program (FTP) from 2019 to 2023. An official source of the PCB revealed that the board is waiting for a decision by the dispute panel before deciding on slots for at least 19 matches .

“That is because we have 19 matches with India not slotted, yet awaiting clearance from the ICC dispute resolution committee,” said the source, when asked why Pakistan has got fewest number of matches in the new FTP. The source explained that if dispute panel decides against Pakistan then the PCB will have an option of filling the slots with other teams.