Ashes 2023 schedule revealed as five-Test showpiece squeezed into 46-day window

England’s showpiece Ashes series will be squeezed into a 46-day window next summer – and it will be over by the end of July.

Just 24 hours before Sir Andrew Strauss releases his High Performance Review, Lord’s has published the schedule for the five-Test series against Australia in 2023.

And it looks like a recipe for burnout, especially fast bowlers.

In the official schedule for 2023, published today, the Ashes begins at Edgbaston on Friday, June 16, with further matches at Lord’s, Headingley, Old Trafford and The Oval – with the last day of the series on July 31.

Ludicrously, to accommodate the England & Wales Cricket Board’s white elephant The Hundred, there is only one day of international cricket scheduled for August in 2023 – the first Twenty20 game against New Zealand, at Durham on August 30.

England captain Ben Stokes quit one-day international cricket in July, dropping heavy hints that the schedule was unsustainable for players involved in all three formats of the game.

And new white-ball skipper Jos Buttler struggled to contain his dismay at a preposterous run of 12 games in 24 days – where England lost three series 2-1 against India and South Africa, drawing the other 1-1.

If anybody at Lord’s is listening to what their England captains think, they need to put a new battery in the hearing aid.

Fast bowlers, notably England’s greatest Test bowler of all time Jimmy Anderson, who will turn 41 during the Ashes next year, will be aghast at the prospect of the Ashes being shoehorned into little more than six weeks.

Facing off against the Aussies is supposed to be top of the bill, the cream of England’s fixture list, not a race to get it out of the way as soon as possible.

Ben Stokes after his memorable innings at Headingley in the 2019 Ashes

Ben Stokes after his memorable innings at Headingley in the 2019 Ashes
Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Strauss is due to present his final report after his High Performance Review, which recommends the a overhaul of the county championship with three divisions.

His reconfiguration of the first-class game may not include preventative measures to save fast bowlers’ ankles, knees, hamstrings and back muscles from excess wear and tear.

England’s warm-up act for Australia will be a four-day Test against Ireland at Lord’s – a re-run of their inaugural meeting three years ago, when Joe Root’s side managed to get bowled out for 85 on the opening day.

Chris Woakes took 6-17 as Ireland, chasing 172 to win, were demolished for 38.

England celebrate their 2005 Ashes triumph

England celebrate their 2005 Ashes triumph
Popperfoto via Getty Images)


June 1-4: England v Ireland, Lord’s

June 16-20: First Ashes Test, Edgbaston

June 28-July 2: Second Ashes Test, Lord’s

July 6-10: Third Ashes Test, Headingley

July 15-23: Fourth Ashes Test, Old Trafford

July 27-31: Fifth Ashes Test, The Oval

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