New Zealand are set to play hosts to Asian teams Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh during their 2018-19 home season from December to March. The India tour will be particularly significant given both the men's and women's teams will feature in three T20I double-headers in early February after they complete their respective ODI series.
While the men's teams of India and New Zealand will feature in a five-match ODI series - starting January 23 - that will serve as preparation for the 2019 World Cup, the women's teams will square off in three ICC Women's Championship fixtures that helps to identify seven direct qualifiers (excluding the hosts) for the 2021 Women's World Cup to be held in New Zealand. All six women's matches will be televised live for the first time in New Zealand history.
In a move to align with viewer-friendly timings in India, NZC pushed back the start of all games, barring the second T20I in Auckland on February 8, by one hour as per their agreement with India's host broadcaster Star Sports. There are restrictions on the number of events that can be held at night at Eden Park because of its proximity to residential areas.
While the first and third T20Is will begin at 8pm local time, the Auckland game will start an hour earlier. "NZC would've liked to have scheduled more India matches at Eden Park in Auckland but was unable to do so because of restrictions at the venue," NZC's chief operating officer Anthony Crummy said. All five ODIs between the men's teams will start at 3pm local time.
New Zealand's international summer will start with two Tests against Sri Lanka, starting December 15 in Wellington, followed by the Boxing Day Test in Christchurch, before they play three ODIs and a lone T20 in January. Once India's tour of New Zealand ends with the last T20 on February 10, the hosts will take on Bangladesh for three ODIs, followed by a three-Test series - the first ever between the two sides. This will also be Bangladesh's first three-Test series since hosting Zimbabwe in 2014. The three Tests will be played in Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.
"NZC had hoped to schedule the opening Bangladesh Test at Seddon Park as a Day-Night fixture but could not obtain agreement from the Bangladesh Cricket Board and was forced to revert to the traditional hours-of-play," an NZC release said.
Meanwhile, India will also field an A team that will feature in three four-day fixtures across Mount Maunganui, Hamilton and Whangarei, and three 50-over fixtures, all at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui during the same period.
This series is in line with NZC's increased investment in the 'A Programme' as announced in the new NZC-NZCPA (New Zealand Cricket Players' Association) master agreement earlier in July. The BCCI has in recent times increased the exposure for their A teams through tours to run alongside the senior team's tour, like in England this summer.