New Zealand home fixtures streamlined to mitigate Covid-19 risk
Tours by SA, Australia, Netherlands and India women will now be confined to a small list of venues
New Zealand Cricket has announced a revised home international schedule for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, with its venue list streamlined in order to mitigate the risk of disruption by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
South Africa's upcoming visit for two men's Tests, as a result, will be confined to Christchurch - originally they were scheduled to play one Test there and one in Wellington.
All three men's T20Is against Australia will now be played in Napier, and Netherland's visit for a men's white-ball tour will be split between Mount Maunganui (one-off T20I and one ODI) and Hamilton (two ODIs).
India women, meanwhile, will play their entire white-ball series (one T20I and five ODIs) in Queenstown.
"These risk mitigations are based on avoiding known Covid-19 hotspots, and include limiting air travel, limiting accommodation transfers and, essentially, operating in safer environments," said NZC chief executive David White.
"We know the more domestic flights we have, and the more movement there is between hotels, the greater the chance of a match or even a series being put at risk."
Wellington is set to be hardest hit by the streamlining of venues. Apart from the second Test against South Africa, it was also set to host two of the T20Is against Australia.
"It's a real blow for those in our cricket family who have missed out on hosting events through no fault of their own.
"However, the current environment demands we take every possible measure to, 1) ensure people are safe and well, and 2) deliver a summer of international cricket with the least possible disruption."
Fans who have purchased tickets at venues that will no longer host games are entitled to a full refund.