NZ focus on World Cup preparation
New Zealand's abbreviated season was confirmed today with Stephen Fleming's side hosting only two Tests and eight one-day internationals in 2006-07. Sri Lanka's tour begins in November and also includes a couple of Twenty20 matches, which were scheduled ahead of a third Test, and Australia will visit for the Chappell-Hadlee Series in February.
The downscaled itinerary comes as the country focuses on limited-overs fixtures to prepare for the World Cup. "The amount of Test cricket scheduled in the next 18 months is minimal and we believe it is more beneficial to concentrate on the one-day game as we lead into the World Cup and prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup," Martin Snedden, the New Zealand Cricket chief executive, said. "The decision to play two Twenty20 matches in place of an extra Test against Sri Lanka was made both for climatic reasons and because the Twenty20 format has more potential to develop players."
Snedden said the "risk" of a three-Test series before Christmas was "too great". "The weather tends to be unsettled at this time of year," he said, "and playing the extra Test would have meant the first match was played in late November."
Hamilton's Seddon Park returns to the international fixture list after a one-year absence due to pitch and outfield conditions and will host the third match of the Chappell-Hadlee Series. Queenstown has been pencilled in as the venue for the second contest of the Sri Lanka series, but Snedden said some "outstanding issues" had to be resolved.
New Zealand v Sri Lanka
1st Test, December 7-11, Christchurch
2nd Test, December 15-19, Wellington
Twenty20, December 22, Wellington
Twenty20, December 26, Auckland
1st ODI, December 28, Napier
2nd ODI, December 31, Queenstown (to be confirmed)
3rd ODI, January 2, Christchurch
4th ODI, January 6, Auckland
5th ODI, January 9, Hamilton
1st ODI, February 16, Wellington
2nd ODI, February 18, Auckland
3rd ODI, February 20, Hamilton