New Zealand reschedule Sri Lanka series for April
Sri Lanka will finish their two-Test tour of New Zealand in April, after the original trip was cancelled following the Boxing Day tsunami. Martin Snedden, the chief executive of New Zealand Cricket, said he was also working to reschedule the four one-day matches that were abandoned when the Sri Lankan squad returned home to assist with their nation's recovery.
The Tests will begin on April 4 and April 11, and the venues are expected to be confirmed in two weeks. "The climatic conditions in early April are normally similar to those in March," said Snedden, "and we are confident that Test cricket can be played at that time of year."
Shane Warne, who played his first one-day international since December 2002 last night, will captain a FICA World XI in three limited-overs matches against New Zealand in a hastily arranged replacement series to raise money for the tsunami victims. Warne will be joined by Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya and Andy Flower at Christchurch on January 22, Wellington on January 24 and Hamilton on January 26.
Warne has also refused to shut the door on a possible one-day return after he showed his value in the limited-overs arena during the charity match. "I definitely enjoyed it," he told ABC Online. "It's something I speak to Ricky [Ponting] about a fair bit and chat about it, but at this stage I'm still retired. But I do enjoy playing it and who knows, down the track, you never know."
Snedden said that NZC hoped to break even from the series, or to run at a manageable loss. "It will be expensive to hold, but the benefits for the home cricket season and the Black Caps, as well as those who benefit from our fund-raising activities, will make the series more than worthwhile. The series is an important initiative." Snedden said funds from the matches would go to World Vision and Sri Lanka's Cricket-Aid, which is providing emergency relief for the homeless.
FICA World XIs Game 1 Shane Warne (capt), Andy Flower, Ian Harvey, Graeme Hick, Sanath Jayasuriya, Lance Klusener, Nick Knight, Muttiah Muralitharan, Jonty Rhodes, Kumar Sangakkara, Heath Streak, Chaminda Vaas.
Game 2 Shane Warne (capt), Andy Bichel, Matthew Elliott, Andy Flower, Ian Harvey, Graeme Hick, Sanath Jayasuriya, Lance Klusener, Nick Knight, Muttiah Muralitharan, Jonty Rhodes, Kumar Sangakkara, Heath Streak, Chaminda Vaas.
Game 3 Shane Warne (capt), Michael Bevan, Andy Bichel, Matthew Elliott, Andy Flower, Ian Harvey, Graeme Hick, Sanath Jayasuriya, Justin Langer, Muttiah Muralitharan, Jonty Rhodes, Kumar Sangakkara, Heath Streak, Chaminda Vaas.