New Zealand v Australia T20Is - Men's
Australia's next tour confirmed with dates set for NZ T20s
Five-match T20 tour of New Zealand that clashes with proposed Test tour of South Africa highlights logjam of fixtures caused by pandemic
29 September 2020, 02:23 PM AEST
As Australia's men's team waits for their home summer schedule to be finalised, their next overseas tour has been confirmed following today's announcement by New Zealand Cricket.
Australia will face the Black Caps in five T20 internationals across two weeks in February and March next year, starting in Christchurch on February 22.
The tour then moves to Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland before concluding in Tauranga on March 7.
While the International Cricket Council's Future Tours Programme has Australia travelling to South Africa for a three-Test tour at the same time as the New Zealand campaign, Cricket South Africa is yet to release their season schedule except for the postponement of their domestic T20 competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And given how the coronavirus outbreak has impacted almost every international series, including the men's T20 and women's 50-over World Cups, sticking to the FTP has become increasingly difficult.
Cricket Australia's Interim Chief Executive Nick Hockley noted the potential clash with Australia's scheduled Test tour to South Africa under the existing FTP, but pointed out circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic are unique and require innovative thinking and planning.
"Sport around the globe has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and it is incumbent upon all of us to play our part in helping international cricket back to a healthy position," Hockley said today.
"Hosting this series is of vital importance to NZC and we stand ready to assist them, as we did the ECB with the recent white-ball series in England.
"Every board will have to make compromises and sacrifices to help the international game recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and we are happy to do our bit.
"This is a unique set of circumstances brought on by the pandemic and is not something we envisage replicating regularly in future."
Should the men's teams matches in NZ and South Africa coincide, it would not be the first time an international schedule log-jam has forced CA to field teams in overlapping series.
In 2017, Australia's three-match T20 campaign against Sri Lanka in Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide coincided with the arrival of the men's Test team in India for the four-match Border-Gavaskar series which meant selectors named two separate squads.
And a year later, Australia's T20 team was in New Zealand for the final matches of their tri-series against the Black Caps and England while the Test team was playing a warm-up match in South Africa on the ill-fated tour.
And at the start of the 2014-15 summer, Australia played a home T20 against South Africa two days after their Test series against Pakistan wrapped up in the UAE.
The news comes after New Zealand prime minister Jacinta Ardern spoke positively about the possibility of travel between her country and certain Australian states by the end of the year.
Australia were set to host New Zealand for three one-day internationals next January but that series, along with a maiden Test against Afghanistan, has been postponed until the 2021-22 season.
New Zealand's three-match ODI series in Australia last March was postponed after just one match following the accelerating risk of the pandemic, before Australia's white-ball tour across the Tasman and a mid-year Test tour of Bangladesh were also abandoned.
New Zealand will host the West Indies and Pakistan this summer before Australia arrives in 2021.
The Black Caps begin with three T20Is against the Windies, starting on November 27 at Eden Park, with their two Tests in Hamilton and Wellington.
Like the West Indies, Pakistan start their campaign with three T20Is, starting December 18, before a Boxing Day Test at Bay Oval in Tauranga and New Year's Test in Christchurch.
"We've worked very closely with Cricket Australia in what is, really, a unique set of circumstances – and we can't speak highly enough of their commitment to the global game," said CNZ chief executive David White.
"The same goes for the West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh and England – right across the board in cricket there's been a real spirit of cooperation."
Australia's T20I tour of New Zealand, 2021
Feb 22 – 1st T20I, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Feb 25 – 2nd T20I, University of Otago Oval, Dunedin
Mar 03 – 3rd T20I, Sky Stadium, Wellington
Mar 05 – 4th T20I, Eden Park, Auckland
Mar 07 – 5th T20I, Bay Oval, Tauranga