July 31, 2003

Christchurch missing from Test list for NZ summer

Christchurch is missing from the Test match itinerary for New Zealand's five-Test summer. Hamilton and Wellington will each stage two Tests while Auckland will host the remaining match.

The first Test of the summer, in the two-Test series against Pakistan, is from December 19-23 in Hamilton and the Boxing Day Test returns to the Basin Reserve from December 26-30.

Then during South Africa's tour, the first Test will be played in Hamilton from March 10-14, the second Test at Eden Park in Auckland from March 18-22 and the third Test in Wellington from March 26-30.

Eleven one-day internationals are also scheduled - five against Pakistan and six against South Africa. Pakistan will have two three-day warm-up matches against opponents, and at venues, still to be announced. They will also have a one-day warm-up game on New Year's Day, also at an undisclosed venue with opposition unknown.

South Africa will have a one-day warm-up game on February 12 before starting their ODIs on February 14.

New Zealand Cricket's chief executive Martin Snedden said NZC had developed a policy of guaranteeing each of the major associations two international matches a year, either Tests or ODIs, for the next three years.

"The simple fact of the matter is that given the choice, most associations prefer to host ODIs. Both Jade Stadium and Canterbury Cricket said if they had the choice next summer they would prefer ODIs. Otago have said they don't want a Test and now they have a second venue in Queenstown they are happy with ODIs.

"There is also the factor of suitability of venues, and provided standards are kept, Wellington and Hamilton are the most suitable venues for Test matches in New Zealand. There are also some financial issues but these are not over-riding issues.

"The best opportunity for major associations to make money, apart from what they get from NZC, is on the back of ODIs," he said. Snedden added that problems relating to the overlap of rugby through its Super 12 competition were less of a factor now than in the past.

"We have good co-operation with rugby and we have access to a draft draw to try and work our way around that," he said. The warm-up matches for both the Pakistan and South African tours were likely to be against association sides and because the domestic programme for the year was still being sorted, the opponents were not yet known.

The complete list of ODIs for the summer is: Pakistan series - January 3, Auckland, January 7, Queenstown, January 10, Christchurch, January 14, Napier, January 17, Wellington; South Africa - February 14, Auckland (d/n), February 18, Wellington (d/n), February 21, Christchurch (d/n), February 24, Dunedin (d/n), February 28, Auckland (d/n), March 2, Napier. All games will have reserve days.

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