Dunedin loses out in cricket schedule shakeup

The University Oval. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
The University Oval. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Dunedin misses out but Queenstown gains from sweeping schedule changes announced by New Zealand Cricket this morning.

NZC has ‘‘streamlined’’ its home international schedules for the Black Caps and White Ferns to mitigate the risk of an Omicron outbreak.

The University Oval has lost hosting rights for the one-day international between the Black Caps and the Netherlands on March 29.

That series (three ODIs and one T20) will now be shared by Mt Maunganui and Hamilton.

The White Ferns were set to play a pair of one-dayers against India in Queenstown to prepare for the Women’s World Cup.

That series — one T20 and five ODIs — will now be played entirely at Queenstown’s John Davies Oval.

Another significant change is that the South African men’s team will stay in Christchurch for its entire tour, playing both tests at Hagley Oval rather than moving to Wellington for the second test.

All three T20s between the Black Caps and Australia will be played in Napier, subject to MIQ availability.

NZC chief executive David White said the venue changes were part of a contingency plan designed to safeguard the health of all participants, and to reduce the chance of matches or series being jeopardised by an outbreak.

“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,” White said.

“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.”

While crowds were likely to be severely reduced because of protocols under the Red setting of the Covid-19 Protection Framework system, White said he knew those venues and centres that had lost fixtures would be sorely disappointed.

“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 ensure people are safe and well, and deliver a summer of international cricket with the least possible disruption.”

Fans who had purchased tickets for games no longer being played at the advertised venues would receive full refunds.

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