New Zealand Cricket on Thursday moved to streamline its home international schedules for the men's and women's teams in order to mitigate the risk of an Omicron outbreak compromising upcoming fixtures.
The immediate changes will see the South Africa men's side remaining in Christchurch for the entire duration of its visit, playing both its scheduled Tests at Hagley Oval rather than decamping to Wellington for the second match, as initially scheduled. Other alterations will see the women's team's short-form series against India (one T20 and five ODIs) played solely at John Davies Oval in Queenstown; Australia's three T20s against the BLACKCAPS hosted in Napier (subject to MIQ availability), and the Netherlands men's tour split between Mount Maunganui (one T20 and one ODI) and Hamilton (two ODIs).
NZC chief executive David White said the venue changes were just one part of a contingency plan designed to safeguard the health of all participants and to reduce the chance of matches or series being jeopardized by an outbreak.
"These risk mitigations are based on avoiding known COVID-19 hotspots and include limiting air travel, limiting accommodation transfers, and, essentially, operating in safer environments. We know the more domestic flights we have, and the more movement there is between hotels, the greater the chance of a match or even a series being put at risk," said White in an official release.
While crowds were likely to be severely reduced because of protocols under the "red" setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework system, White said he knew those venues and centres that had lost fixtures would be sorely disappointed.
"It's a real blow for those in our cricket family who have missed out on hosting events through no fault of their own. However, the current environment demands we take every possible measure to, 1) ensure people are safe and well, and 2) deliver a summer of international cricket with the least possible disruption," said White.
The revised home summer schedule will now comprise:
BLACKCAPS v South Africa - two Tests:
Both Test matches to be played at Hagley Oval, Christchurch.
WHITE FERNS v India - one T20I & five ODIs:
All matches to be played at John Davies Oval, Queenstown.
BLACKCAPS v Australia - three T20Is:
All matches to be played at McLean Park, Napier.
BLACKCAPS v Netherlands - one T20 & three ODIs
The first two matches (one T20I & one ODI) to be played at Bay Oval, Tauranga.
The last two matches (two ODIs) to be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton. (ANI)
This article is free to read, but it would awesome if we had your support.