Chappell-Hadlee series off amid NZ quarantine issues
New Zealand Cricket unable to secure guarantees Black Caps would be allowed home after series amid Omicrom wave as series becomes latest to fall victim to the pandemic
19 January 2022, 11:52 AM AEST
New Zealand's quarantine requirements and border controls have seen the Chappell-Hadlee ODI series and a T20 match postponed indefinitely, it was confirmed today.
Australia and New Zealand were due to play three ODIs on January 30 and February 2 and 5, and a one-off T20 match on February 8.
It is the third successive summer that Australia and New Zealand have had white-ball fixtures postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and means there are currently no one-day internationals scheduled for the Australian men's team for the first summer in 44 years.
A change of stance from the New Zealand government to impose a hard 10-day mandatory quarantine in response to the Omicrom wave of COVID-19 infections meant Cricket New Zealand could not secure guarantees the Black Caps players would be allowed back into the country.
The series was to make the final visit from retiring New Zealand great Ross Taylor, who signed off from Test cricket earlier this month in spectacular fashion with a wicket on his final ball.
Australia currently remain scheduled to play a three-match T20 series in New Zealand between March 17 and 20. It remains to be seen if that series will proceed which, if current restrictions were to remain in place, would mean the unpalatable prospect of 10 days in quarantine for a four-day tour.
CA and New Zealand officials had discussed the possibility of rescheduling those matches on Australian soil to push back the date the Black Caps would be looking to return home in the hope of either an easing of restrictions or increased availability in spots in the country's overburdened managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) system.
NZC chief executive David White said: "As we now know, the advent of Omicron prompted a change of heart from the NZ Government, resulting in a hard 10-day mandatory isolation period being imposed on all incoming travellers.
"NZC and CA had explored a proposal to expand the tour and to push out the date on which the squad might return to New Zealand in the hope that might be more achievable for the Government.
"Unfortunately, we received advice this morning that they could not provide certainty over this."
The T20 match in Canberra would have been a rematch of last November's T20 World Cup final where Australia defeated the Black Caps to claim their first men's trophy in the event.
Australia's next currently scheduled fixtures then are a five-match T20 series against the Sri Lankans due to start in Sydney on February 11.
The prospect of the absence of ODIs for an entire Australian summer for the first time since 1977-78 also means fans will have to wait longer for Australia's men's team to wear a special Indigenous themed kit.
The men's team were due to wear it for one ODI against the Black Caps, but it will now be first seen on Meg Lanning's women's team in their ODIs against England in February. The men are expected to wear the kit in their ODIs on their Pakistan tour in March, while it may yet return for ODIs in the 2022-23 home summer.
CA chief executive Nick Hockley hinted there may be changes to that schedule, with a possibility of it being extended to be explored.
"We are extremely disappointed that we won't be able to play the scheduled matches against New Zealand as planned, however we will continue to work with New Zealand Cricket to reschedule the series.
"We thank NZC, who made every effort to make the series happen, however because they were unable to get certainty over return quarantine arrangements, it is simply just not possible at this time.
"We know fans will be disappointed and thank them for their understanding given the unique circumstances that the global pandemic presents for everyone.
"We look forward to welcoming Sri Lanka to Australia next month and will confirm the schedule for that series as soon as possible."
The Black Caps would have sent a squad bereft of their leading Test stars had it proceeded, with a Test series against South Africa coming in February.
Australia's Test stars with BBL contracts have returned to their Big Bash clubs for the final stages of the season, while others will rest up before the Marsh Sheffield Shield resumption.
Australia's men's matches postponed during the pandemic
March 2020: 2 x ODIs v New Zealand
June 2020: 2 x Tests v Bangladesh *
August 2020: 3 x ODIs v Zimbabwe
October 2020: 3 x T20Is v West Indies
November 2020: 1 x Test v Afghanistan
Jan-Feb 2021: 3 x ODIs and 1 x T20I v New Zealand
Feb-Mar 2021: 3 x Tests v South Africa*
November 2021: 1 x Test v Afghanistan
Jan-Feb 2022: 3 x ODIs and 1 x T20I v New Zealand