England, Australia to play back-to-back Ashes

England and Australia will play 10 back-to-back Ashes Tests as part of the new future tours programme agreed by cricket's world governing body on Monday.

Andrew Strauss's side face Australia at home in the English summer of 2013 and then will do it all again Down Under in the Australian summer.

The series form part of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the period from 2012 to 2020 finalised at a meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives committee in Hong Kong on Monday.

The back-to-back Ashes schedule is a result of Australia hosting the World Cup in 2015, when the return Ashes would normally be played.

The FTP contains an official two-week window in September for the Champions League Twenty20 each year and also leaves space for an unofficial IPL window in April and May, making it possible for players from most nations to participate in the money-spinning tournament.

England are scheduled to play 99 Test matches from 2012-20 while Australia will play 92 and India 90.

While England has two five-Test match series planned against India, Australia is yet to be able to squeeze in more than four games against the world's most powerful team.

India's tours to England in 2014 and 2018 will include five Tests -- the only series of that length outside of the Ashes.

Sri Lanka and South Africa have 76 and 74 matches scheduled, the West Indies and New Zealand 66, Pakistan 65 with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe 42 and 41 games, respectively.

Pakistan, who are only allowed to play away from home following the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, are scheduled to tour India in March and April 2013.

The Zimbabwean team has not played any Test cricket since 2005, after getting their Test status suspended by International Cricket Council (ICC), due to political turmoil in the country.

World Cup winners India have been scheduled to play 166 One-day Internationals, the biggest share and 102 more than Zimbabwe. All other nations will play between 100 and 160 games.

Most sides have been handed between 30 and 55 Twenty20 games in a move seen by observers as the ICC's attempt to rein in the format to keep 50-over ODIs alive.

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