New Zealand Cricket has announced the itineraries for the home series against West Indies and India this summer. West Indies are scheduled to tour from December 2008, playing two Tests, two Twenty20 internationals and five one-dayers, followed by India's visit in March.
West Indies begin their tour on December 5 with a three-day warm-up match against Auckland, before the first Test at Dunedin's University Oval, the newest Test venue in the country. The Twenty20 internationals precede the one-dayers, the first of which is scheduled for New Year's Eve in Queenstown. West Indies wrap up their tour with the fifth one-dayer in Napier on January 13, leaving them more than three weeks to prepare for their home series against England.
India, however, don't have such a luxury and face a gruelling schedule during their tour, with a possible 19 days of cricket to be played in a span of 33 days.
The tour, India's first of New Zealand since 2002-03, begins with a Twenty20 international at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington and ends with the final Test, from April 3-7, at the Basin Reserve in the same city. India will play one Twenty20 international, five day-night ODIs, a warm-up three-day game, and two Tests during their trip; they return home in time for the second edition of the Indian Premier League, which runs from April 10 to May 29.
A hectic itinerary means the Indian players will have only a day's break between the Twenty20 international and the first ODI in Napier, as well as between the fifth ODI in Hamilton and the warm-up match in Lincoln, near Christchurch, which concludes two days before the start of the first Test in Hamilton.
India had a torrid time on their last trip in December 2002-January 2003, losing the two-Test series 2-0 and the seven-ODI contest 5-2. The visit came in the build-up to the World Cup in South Africa, where the Indian team, under severe pressure initially, made it to the final. Cold and damp conditions resulted in favourable conditions for bowlers, with neither Test lasting five days, and teams batting first often getting bowled out cheaply in the ODI series. India are also slated to visit Pakistan for a full tour early next year.
Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, said he was looking ahead to a competitive summer. "It will be nice to face the contrasting styles of the West Indies and India this summer," Vettori said. "They are two teams who are both on the rise, and they will provide a good measure of where we are at in our own development."