According to Cricinfo, the ICC are again considering putting windows into the international calendar for domestic T20 tournaments. This is ridiculous on the face of it; there is no way that any domestic event should take precedence over an international one and certainly not a domestic T20 event. Apparently the committee concluded that T20 can ‘add to the game as a whole’. That is blatantly untrue; the only thing domestic T20 has added to the game is money and even then only for India. I certainly don’t blame T20 for all or even most of the problems facing the Test game, there is literally nothing that it has added. If any domestic event should be given a window it is domestic first class competitions, but no one is asking for that because it would be ridiculous. The same applies to T20.
Even if there was a justification for putting a domestic event ahead of international ones, it is not feasible to carve out a window for every domestic T20 competition. This is especially true in the places that have well-defined seasons. Even if the English competition were reduced to four weeks again, it would be very difficult to fit that into the summer around all of the scheduled internationals. In Australia the current schedule of the Big Bash League would prevent the Boxing Day and New Year’s Tests from being played either in Australia or South Africa. Presumably Cricket Australia would change the timing, but there is only so much of a cricket season available and the entire Australian summer overlaps with a time where at least one Test series is usually being played somewhere in the world. Even with the other counties where they can move their competitions, there are so many that even if they each only last a month (and right now most are longer than that) there is not enough time left on the calendar if each of them get their own window.
Of course, the league at which the notion of a window is really aimed is the IPL. But an IPL window, even if it was only for the IPL and not any of the other T20 leagues, is still not feasible. The IPL currently runs for about two months, from the beginning of April to the end of May and overlaps with the first two Tests of England’s summer. A quick glance at the history of the BCCI suggests they will be distinctly unwilling to compromise on the timing (or any other matter) and there isn’t enough time in the English calendar to wait until June to start the internationals. The only way for a window to work would be for England to cut some matches out of the international summer. This would be unacceptable to many and in particular I expect it would be unacceptable to Sky Sports. England already play two extra T20s in the summer because they sold the broadcast rights for them to Sky; I cannot imagine Sky agreeing to the ECB cutting down on fixtures. Even if the BCCI were to agree to bring the IPL forward to end before the English summer began then they are impacting (more than they are already) on the West Indies and New Zealand home seasons. The West Indies don’t have a well-defined season, but they still may have trouble moving their matches around and New Zealand would certainly have problems doing so.
No matter how much the administrators pretend that domestic T20 leagues are a good thing or even that international cricket can/should not fight them, there is simply not enough time in the calendar to give them all windows, or even just the IPL unless the leagues themselves are changed considerably and in most cases that looks very unlikely.