England's white-ball tour of Bangladesh, which was originally scheduled for September and October this year, has been postponed indefinitely.
While sources within English cricket have suggested the postponement was the decision of the BCB there has been no confirmation at this point. A statement is expected shortly, however, with the reason given likely to be complications around Covid protocols.
It may be relevant, however, that the decision will enable many of those involved to return to the IPL when it resumes in the UAE on September 19. It was postponed after 29 matches earlier this year due to a spike in Covid cases within teams' bio-bubbles.
Certainly the ECB are set to allow their players to take part in the remainder of the tournament arguing that it will provide ideal preparation for the T20 World Cup which will be staged in the same part of the world a few weeks later.
The players not involved in the IPL, meanwhile, will get a chance to rest before England embark on a packed winter touring schedule that includes the T20 World Cup, which begins on October 17 in the UAE (some first-round games will also be played in Oman), and the Ashes in Australia.
England are also scheduled to tour Pakistan for two T20Is on October 14 and 15 as part of their preparations for the T20 World Cup. The PCB and ECB are currently confident this tour will go ahead.
Both boards are understood to favour rescheduling the Bangladesh series for late 2022 or early 2023, though gaps in the schedule are not obvious. January 2023 might offer the best solution. The ECB have also indicated they will complete their aborted limited-overs tour of South Africa at some stage.
The discussion then had been around rejigging the schedule of the upcoming home Test series against India, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The question was whether the dates for the Test series could change to enable a larger window for the IPL. The fifth day of the final Test of the series is September 14, with England originally scheduled to leave for Bangladesh less than a week after that. As reported earlier, the series in Bangladesh - three T20Is and three ODIs, which would be part of the World Cup Super League - was slotted for October. The IPL, meanwhile, will resume on September 19 and run until October 15.
"We have a full schedule. If we go from the end of the fifth Test in September, we are set to leave for Bangladesh on September 19 or 20," Giles had said. "We have a full schedule right through including Pakistan and wherever the T20 World Cup is [since moved to Oman and the UAE].
"We are going to have to give some of these guys a break at some point. But the intention of giving guys a break for, say, Bangladesh, wouldn't be for them to go and play cricket elsewhere. We have to manage our schedule now, so we get our guys arriving in the best shape possible for the T20 World Cup and the Ashes."
The England cricketers expected to link up with their IPL squads are Moeen Ali and Sam Curran (Chennai Super Kings), Sam Billings, Tom Curran and Chris Woakes (Delhi Capitals), Eoin Morgan (Kolkata Knight Riders), Chris Jordan and Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings), Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals), and Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy (Sunrisers Hyderabad). The Royals also had Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Liam Livingstone in their ranks to start with, but all of them were withdrawn for one reason or another during the first leg in April-May.
As for Bangladesh, they will begin a five-match T20I series at home against Australia - the first bilateral T20I series between the two sides - on Tuesday, and are also expected to host New Zealand before the T20 World Cup.