England and Australia's next round of Ashes Down Under have been brought forward from 2014-2015 to 2013-2014. Two series of 5 matches each will be played home and away. The itinerary could be followed by another series in 2015.
This back-to-back series phenomena which last occurred in 1974-75, has been thrust upon the two boards by the competing demands of the ICC World Cup 2015. The quadrennial event will be held in Australia which would have meant that had the Ashes schedule not been tweaked, the English team would have wound up spending 5 full months Down Under.
Another proposal to bring England's home Ashes series in 2013, forward by a year, was negated due to the constraints imposed by the London Olympics 2012. England's subsequent home Ashes summer is now expected to take place in 2015, a year earlier than the 2016 date originally proposed, with the traditional four-year home-and-away rotation expected to kick in from then on.
"It's always been our aim to break that cycle of two huge events in the same winter," said Steve Elworthy, the ECB's marketing director. "To ensure that the teams have better preparation time for the World Cup, this is the only solution, but I also think it's absolutely manageable."
The new dates have yet to be included into the Future Tours Programme. Anyhow, the new itinerary will mean that viewers are in for a lot of Ashes action between 2013 and 2015 and one could just see the coveted urn change hands between that period.