This winter's tour to the West Indies starts early next year and England will return from the Caribbean in late April just in time for a new domestic season. They will then set off for Australia in mid-October on a 16-week tour, for which the itinerary was announced yesterday.
Apart from the five Tests, the trip also includes the familiar Benson and Hedges World Series Cup, a triangular one- day tournament which will include Zimbabwe.
On the plus side, England's request for additional practice before the first Test in Brisbane has been granted. They will play four four-day games - one more then usual - in the build-up to the first Ashes Test.
However, the second and third Tests as well as the fourth and fifth are back-to- back, giving injured players little time to recover.Reuse content