New Zealand limited-overs tour of Australia postponed
Four-match tour to Australia won't go ahead due to NZ not being able to secure MIQ space
New Zealand's upcoming limited-overs tour Australia has been postponed due to uncertainty over when the squad could return home due to the managed isolation and quarantine rules.
The tour was scheduled to begin in Perth although that would have had to change due to Western Australia's hard border. That trip included three ODIs, which were due to be part of Ross Taylor's international farewell, and a one-off T20I in Canberra. New Zealand's ODI series in Australia in early 2020 was abandoned when the pandemic first arrived and a series last season postponed.
Travel into New Zealand is still capped due to Covid-19 and all travellers, including citizens, have to do 10 days of MIQ on arrival. Due to those rules, New Zealand were planning to send a squad to Australia without their Test players who would be preparing to face South Africa.
New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Australia drew up a proposal for the tour to be lengthened to allow the team to return to do their MIQ at a manageable time but New Zealand's government confirmed on Wednesday it had no capacity to meet the request. It's understood they were also denied an exemption to undertake home quarantine.
NZC chief executive David White said the tour was initially scheduled after the New Zealand government signalled its intention to relax MIQ restrictions relating to the Trans-Tasman border.
"As we now know, the advent of Omicron prompted a change of strategy from the government, resulting in a hard 10-day mandatory isolation period being imposed on all incoming travellers," White said.
"NZC and CA had explored a proposal to expand the tour and to push out the date on which the squad might return to New Zealand, in the hope that might be more achievable for the government. But we received advice this morning that they could not provide certainty over this, either."
NZC and CA are set to begin discussions on when the tour can be rescheduled.
"We are extremely disappointed that we won't be able to play the scheduled matches against New Zealand as planned, however we will continue to work with New Zealand Cricket to reschedule the series." CA CEO Nick Hockley said.
"We thank NZC, who made every effort to make the series happen, however because they were unable to get certainty over return quarantine arrangements, it is simply just not possible at this time.
Australia are still scheduled to head to New Zealand for three T20Is from March 17 to 20 although under the current regulations that would appear unlikely to take place. The upcoming tours to New Zealand that had MIQ already booked - South Africa, India's Women, Netherlands and the Women's World Cup - remain on track.
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo