New Zealand have secured a home Twenty20 international series against Australia in late February and early March – at the same time as the team coached by Justin Langer is meant to be playing a Test series in South Africa – as part of a more complete schedule than might have been expected in the time of Covid-19.
On Tuesday, New Zealand Cricket announced that it would go ahead with Test Championship series against the West Indies and Pakistan as outlined in the Future Tours Program, while also fulfilling a commitment to play limited-overs matches against Bangladesh.
The only home series that has fallen by the wayside relative to the original FTP is a tour by Sri Lanka, while the arrival of an Australian T20I side for five matches between February 22 and March 7 will be a considerable boost for the NZC coffers. It is unclear as yet whether this will be a full-strength touring team, given the FTP states that the Australians are due to play a Test series in South Africa in February and March as part of their own Test Championship obligations.
Among other tours in the works, the New Zealand women’s team will host England for a series in February and March, while negotiations for an Australian tour of New Zealand is ongoing.
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“Hosting these tours is incredibly important to us for two reasons: international cricket brings in revenue that funds the entire game of cricket in New Zealand and, also, it’s crucial that we look after the fans of the game and sport in general, especially during these difficult times,” the NZC chief executive David White said.
“We’ve worked very closely with Cricket Australia in what is, really, a unique set of circumstances – and we can’t speak highly enough of their commitment to the global game. The same goes for the West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh and England – right across the board in cricket there’s been a real spirit of cooperation.”
The schedule unveiled by NZC also leaves room for the country’s domestic T20 tournament, the Super Smash, to be played largely free of clashes with international cricket in January and early February, after the postponement of a limited-overs tour of Australia originally slated for late January.