We don’t have any official word yet on the schedule for the Australian tour here at the end of the home season. However, reports are that there will be only two tests and that the tour will wrap up on 31 March, with the last match being the second test at Hamilton.
That the marquee tour of the summer will only have two tests is very disappointing. However, it seems that NZC just haven’t been given enough time by Cricket Australia to fit in a decent tour. Australia won’t be free from their home commitments against Pakistan and the West Indies until after 23 Feb. A realistic end to the tour would be the first week of April. However, Australian workload restrictions are a further bind and pretty much rule out the possibility of three tests. Cricket Australia require 10 days between the start of the second and third tests of a tour. This would have meant that with the second test ending on 31 March, any third test would not have been able start until about 6 April. In fact it’s hard to see how we’re going to fit in a good 5-ODI series in there as well.
A quick squiz at the Aussie home schedule shows that the reason they won’t make it to New Zealand until late is because they have two 3-test series (both with the luxurious breaks between the second and third tests) and two 5-ODI series scheduled against Pakistan and the West Indies. That’s some workload. Over the same time period, New Zealand will play a 2-test series and an ODI series against Bangladesh.
Ironically we have to squeeze our 3-test series against Pakistan around the Aussie home schedule.
A very interesting aspect of the Aussie schedule is that the Windies have a huge month and a half break between their test and ODI rubbers and apparently have no other international commitments in between. I wonder if anyone has given any though to inviting them to visit for some ODIs in January.