The wedging of New Zealand cricket tours into rain-filled
segments of the international calendar looks set to continue
after the current Sri Lanka series.
Two series in the next 18 months - away against Sri Lanka and
the West Indies - are set for the wet season in those
locations and the International Cricket Council's scheduling
likely consigns players to further cabin fever where they'd
be advised to take some decent reading material, video games
or poker sets, depending on their preference.
It reflects the difficulty the ICC's Future Tours Programme
has in scheduling cricket through until April 2020. New
Zealand's top players (i.e those involved in the Indian
Premier League) are set down to play all but two years of
that seven-year and five-month period.
At this rate, cricket fans will struggle to retain an
interest in teams like New Zealand who are battling in all
New Zealand is scheduled to tour Sri Lanka for another three
one-dayers and one Twenty20 international next November
which, given each of the five one-dayers and the sole T20I
were affected by rain this year, make little sense. That
series follows a two test/three ODI/one T20I tour to
Bangladesh (a series also scheduled at the back end of that
country's rainy season).
Similarly, as the West Indies' test cricket fortunes have
declined, they have been dealt more home games in June-July
which now form a regular part of their wet season. New
Zealand tour there in May-June-July 2014.
Rain is less of a problem in the Caribbean than the monsoon
seasons of Asia but it remains risky holding matches in the
middle of the year.
The West Indies have started 23 of their 221 home tests in
June, July or August. Twenty of those have taken place since
2002 as the team slid further into the lower test ranks.
Since rain records have been recorded on cricinfo.com from
2006, 12 of the last 15 tests in the Caribbean during those
months have been affected by rain.
New Zealand's decline in test fortunes has also seen them
shuffled to the periphery of stronger countries' home
itineraries. England last played New Zealand in July or
August - the peak of their summer - during the 1999 series
which the Stephen Fleming-led visitors won 2-1.
The most recent time New Zealand played a test after
Christmas in Australia was Boxing Day 1987. That doubled as
the last time New Zealand played a test in Melbourne or
Sydney. It is a right they need to earn back, which, judging
by the opening test against Sri Lanka, is some time away.
- By Andrew Alderson