The West Indies are scheduled to tour New Zealand for five matches, subject to the final COVID-19 medical protocols being approved by the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Medical Advisory Committee and regional government health and aviation officials.
Following the announcement by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) that they’ve received their government’s approval to proceed with plans to host international cricket, the Cricket West Indies (CWI) confirmed the tour (27 November-15 December).
The Windies last played competitively in England, where as holders of the Wisden Trophy they conceded the coveted prize by losing the three Test series 2-1 to the hosts.
Their seven-week tour of England, with the Windies forced to spend time either on the pitch, pavilion or inside their hotel, came to a close with skipper Jason Holder unable to guide his 25-player squad to success after winning the opening Test at Hampshire CCC’s Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The trio of Tests, all played behind closed doors in July because of the global coronavirus outbreak, kicked off the return of international cricket for the first time since March. But the visitors were sluggish in the final back-to-back Tests at Lancashire CCC’s Old Trafford ground, with calls from former Caribbean players to shuffle the squad for the next set of games.
Cash-strapped CWI, licking their wounds following their abject failure in England, were then dealt a severe financial blow in the opening week of August after their proposed home series against South Africa was postponed indefinitely.
The South Africans, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, were scheduled to tour the Caribbean in July and August. Then talks were in place for the series, comprising two Test matches and five T20 internationals, to be played in September and/or October.
But now the CWI will be delighted that they have a provisional tour lined up, with a trio of T20 internationals and a pair of Test matches.
CWI released a statement, attributed to president Ricky Skerritt, which read: “We are pleased to be able to fulfil our obligation to tour New Zealand as we continue to get our ICC Future Tours Programme back on track, in spite of the financial difficulties we face.
“I want to thank Johnny Grave (CWI CEO) and Jimmy Adams (CWI Director of Cricket), and their operations team, for successfully partnering with New Zealand Cricket to make this tour possible.
“Earlier this summer, in collaboration with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), we restarted international cricket globally. Fortunately, that England tour included the successful testing of safety protocols, which we expect will be the standard for all international cricket tours.
“COVID-19 has created a most challenging period for cricketers and fans alike, with all the schedules being adjusted and amended. We see this tour as another timely opportunity to keep our players working and our fans entertained.”
The Windies, as defending T20 World Cup champions, are proposing to start their tour by facing the hosts at Eden Park in Auckland for a T20 match under floodlights. The match at Eden Park is the venue where the two sides met in their inaugural T20 contest in 2006, which ended in a tie and forced a bowl-off.
The T20 series is pencilled in to move to Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval for two matches, the first a daytime contest with the following encounter under floodlights.
The 1st Test is set to take place at Seddon Park in Hamilton, which is renowned for a village green setting. The tourists are scheduled to travel south to Wellington for the 2nd Test at the Basin Reserve, and is the only cricket ground to boast New Zealand Historic Place status as it is the oldest test cricket ground in the country.
These T20 internationals will kick-off an 11-month schedule of matches building up to the ICC T20 World Cup, which has been rescheduled for October 2021 in India.
New Zealand have been inactive since March, when they played hosts Australia in a behind closed doors one-day international in Sydney.
NZC’s press release quoted their chief executive David White and stating: “Hosting these tours is incredibly important to us for two reasons. Firstly, international cricket brings in revenue that funds the entire game of cricket in New Zealand, and it’s also crucial that we look after the fans of the game and sport in general.”
New Zealand v West Indies provisional tour schedule
1st T20 international
Eden Park, Auckland
2nd T20 international
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
3rd T20 international
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
Seddon Park, Hamilton
Basin Reserve, Wellington
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