New Zealand’s limited-overs tour to Australia early next year has been postponed because the quarantine requirements at both ends of the trip would make it too difficult to fit into the schedule but their home summer has been given government approval.
The international summer has been handed the green light after confirmation of quarantine and managed isolation plans for touring teams. Initially that covers the visits of West Indies and Pakistan, but NZC is hopeful it will extend to Bangladesh, the Australia men’s and women’s team and the England women’s side early next year.
Pakistan and West Indies are due to play two Tests and three T20s on their visits with Bangladesh slated for a limited-overs tour, the Australia men’s side for T20s and a women’s tri-series during February in the gap created by the postponement of the Women’s ODI World Cup.
“It’s a huge boost for us, it’s our financial lifeline,” NZC CEO David White said. “International cricket funds the whole game in New Zealand so it’s very important. It won’t come cheap, we’ll be footing the bill, but we are happy to do that.”
The men’s trip to Australia had been due to include three ODIs and a single T20, initially scheduled to take place from late January although there had been a possibility of those dates being altered to try and give the closing stages of the Big Bash a clear window so that Australian international players could take part.
New Zealand’s one-day series in Australia earlier this year was curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic when the team had to fly home ahead of borders closing. The first match had been played behind closed doors at the SCG with two subsequent games called off.
“That 14-day managed isolation at both sides of the Tasman is a challenge,” White said. “We’ve worked with Cricket Australia on that will be fulfilling our obligations the following year.”
The postponement of the tour means that the only men’s visiting team to Australia this season could be India with the one-off Test against Afghanistan facing challenges to remain in the schedule due.
NZC will announce its home fixtures and venues next week but Christchurch is the favoured location for the managed isolation of visiting teams who would be able to train at the high performance centre at Lincoln.
There will be a phased isolation period for visiting squads, and New Zealand players returning from the IPL, with the first three days confined to hotel rooms before training can begin in bubbles that increase in size up to 15 by the end of the two-week period during which they will be tested for Covid-19 multiple times. Once that fortnight is complete players are able to move around as normal members of the public.
West Indies will be the first visitors of the season and the IPL-based players will share a flight with their New Zealand counterparts from the UAE.
White also confirmed there are plans for a series of New Zealand A matches during the visits by West Indies and Pakistan so that all the players involved in enlarged squads are able to play cricket.
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