The upcoming men’s T20 International series between New Zealand and Australia, scheduled to be played in Napier in March has been cancelled due to New Zealand’s border controls and quarantine requirements.
Both the boards – Cricket Australia (CA) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) agreed to abandon the series.
The three-match series, scheduled for March 17-20 at McLean Park in Napier, was initially arranged with the New Zealand Government’s plan to relax restrictions at the trans-Tasman border in mind however, with those plans now substantially delayed, the decision was made by the two boards to abandon the series.
“We thank NZ Cricket for making every effort to host the series but unfortunately it wasn’t possible given the border restrictions and quarantine requirements,” said CA CEO Nick Hockley.
Meanwhile, NZC chief executive David White said the move to call off the Australia tour was inevitable given the restrictions at the border. “At the time we scheduled the visit there was a lot of hope that the trans-Tasman border would be open for those who met the right criteria,” White said.
“However, the advent of Omicron has, unfortunately, changed everything at the border, and has made it impossible for us to continue with the series. It’s disappointing, but we know it’s the same for businesses and individuals and other sports, and we’re grateful for the international schedule we have,” he added.
Australia is now scheduled to host Sri Lanka for a five-match T20I series, beginning Friday night in Sydney.
Earlier in Januray, New Zealand‘s tour of Australia, which included three ODIs and a T20I, has been postponed indefinitely due to quarantine issues.
The trans-tasman rivals were scheduled to play the three ODIs on January 30 and February 2 and 5 while the T20I was scheduled for February 8. Notably, New Zealand’s quarantine issues and border controls matters were the key reasons behind the postponement of the white-ball fixtures.
Due to prevalent Omicron wave of Covid-19 infections, the New Zealand government had announced to impose a hard 10-day mandatory quarantine for everyone. The announcement meant that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) could not secure guarantees whether its players would be allowed back into the country.
After the development, reports had suggested that CA and the NZC officials had discussed the possibility of rescheduling these matches in Australia.
Notably, the series was to make the final visit from retiring New Zealand great Ross Taylor, who had signed off from Test cricket earlier this month.
Commenting on the issue, NZC chief executive David White had said: “As we now know, the advent of Omicron prompted a change of heart from the NZ Government, resulting in a hard 10-day mandatory isolation period being imposed on all incoming travellers. 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.”