NZC drop West Indies Test with eye to the future
New Zealand's first home day-night Test, against England next March, remains an uncertain prospect with NZC still awaiting approval to stage the match under lights at Eden Park while one Test has been dropped from West Indies' visit with an eye on the future structure of the international game.
Whether floodlit or not, England will play New Zealand in Auckland from March 22-26 followed by the second Test in Christchurch from March 30. Those matches will conclude New Zealand's home summer which also includes a limited-overs tour by Pakistan during January in an overall schedule which has 13 ODIs and 10 T20s - four as part of the tri-series with Australia and England - alongside just four Tests.
When the venues for New Zealand's 2017-18 season were originally announced last year, West Indies had been pencilled in for a three-Test series but they will now play just the two - at the Basin Reserve (starting December) and Hamilton (starting December) - with NZC expecting a new Test Championship to be approved later this year which will shape the make-up of many future international tours.
"If we look forward to the way Test cricket will probably go in the future, we are very hopeful that in October the ICC will sign off on a new Test Championship commencing in 2019/20," David White, the NZC chief executive, said. "A typical tour will be two Test matches, three ODIs and three T20s so we are trying to get aligned with what we'll have in the future.
"We've got four Test matches which will be the norm going forward, with two tours, with 13 ODIs which is a lot but it is the start of our preparations for the 2019 World Cup."
The hopes of the first floodlit Test in the country hinge on gaining approval from Auckland council to use the Eden Park floodlights on a Sunday. New Zealand faced Australia in the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide in 2015 while, if it goes ahead, the match will be England's third in eight months - they play their first day-night Test against West Indies, at Edgbaston, later this month followed by the Ashes encounter in Adelaide during December.
"We've completed a resource consent hearing with Eden Park and we're hopeful within the next week or two we'll have a result from the independent commissioners on whether it will proceed," White said.
It has also been confirmed that Napier has lost its ODI against Pakistan - which has been given to the Basin Reserve in Wellington - with concerns it would not be ready for the January match following last year's outfield issues when the ODI against Australia was abandoned due to problems with drainage. However, the ground will host an ODI against England in March.
There is a Boxing Day ODI against West Indies in Christchurch and a New Year Day T20 against the same opposition in Mount Maunganui. The T20 tri-series, the first of its kind, had already been confirmed with the final being held at Eden Park on February 21.