Auckland [New Zealand], September 29 (ANI): New Zealand men's cricket team will be beginning their 2020-21 home summer with the T20I series against West Indies, slated to begin from November 27.
After concerns over the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the summer schedule, New Zealand will now lock horns with West Indies and Pakistan between November 2020- January 2021.
New Zealand will lock horns with Windies in three T20Is and two Tests while the side will play against Pakistan in three T2OIs and two Tests. After the series against Pakistan, the BlackCaps will take on Australia in February and Bangladesh in March.
"I'm thrilled to be making this announcement today, given the uncertainty and difficulties over the past six or seven months. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the New Zealand government for helping us navigate this complex process, as we do to our commercial partners and especially Spark Sport and TVNZ, for their patience and understanding," David White, NZC's CEO said in an official statement.
"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," he added.
Included in the season of international cricket are four Tests, two against the West Indies, and then two against Pakistan. The first Test against Pakistan at Bay Oval will be the eighth Boxing Day Test in New Zealand and the first since the BLACKCAPS beat Sri Lanka at Hagley Oval in 2018. Wellington (five Tests) and Christchurch have hosted the others.
The BLACKCAPS are currently in fourth place on the inaugural Test Match Championship ladder and a strong performance in each series will greatly enhance their chances of qualifying for the final, scheduled for next June.
The WHITE FERNS (Kiwi women's cricket team) can also look forward to an exciting summer of international cricket, with the England women's side confirmed to visit in February and March, and discussions ongoing regarding a visit from the Australia women.
White also said that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) was aware of the challenging circumstances in which many New Zealanders had found themselves in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and would be cutting the price of an adult ticket by almost half, to acknowledge this.
"It might sound counter-intuitive to be lowering ticket prices at a time of great additional cost and expense to the game, but we think it's the right thing to do," White said.
While no international side would be in New Zealand through the bulk of January and early-February, White said Kiwis could still look forward to top cricket.
"One of the silver linings is that our Super Smash competition, which will be played in that window, will now be boosted by the presence of BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS.
It's going to be the best Super Smash yet, I'm confident of that," White said. (ANI)