NZ's limited-overs series against Australia postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic
New Zealand's upcoming away white-ball series against Australia has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak in the Kiwi nation. The main reason behind the deferment of three-match ODI series and one-off T20I between NZ and Australia is uncertainty over the Blackcaps' return to home amid tightening COVID-19 protocols in the country. The development was confirmed by Cricket Australia via a press release.
Why does it matter?
This is the third consecutive summer when a limited-overs series between the neighboring nations has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of the said series also means that for the first time in 44 years, there are no upcoming ODIs series scheduled for Australia in the summer. This series was also supposed to be retiring Ross Taylor's last tour of Australia.
Why was the series deferred?
The New Zealand government has imposed a 10-day hard quarantine on every individual coming outside of the country. The development came in response to the rising cases of the Omicron virus in the country. The change in the stance meant that there was no guarantee that the NZ players would have been able to return home after the conclusion of the series.
Nick Hockley on the postponement of the series
Confirming the news about the postponement, CA CEO Hockley said, "We are extremely disappointed that we won't be able to play the scheduled matches against New Zealand as planned." "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," he added.
What does NZC chief executive David White has to say?
NZC chief executive David White in a statement confirmed that the NZ government's change of heart on quarantine is the reason behind the suspension of the series. He also added that they tried to push the dates of the series to accommodate players' safe return but it was not approved by the government, resulting in indefinite suspension of the tour.
How is the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand?
According to the UNI news agency, New Zealand recorded 24 new infections on Wednesday and now the total community outbreak in the country stands at 11,360. NZ's total positive tally now stands at 14,874. The most number of new cases were reported in Auckland (14) followed by lake regions (5). Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, and Hutt Valley reported one case each.
Australia to host SL next in February
Australia's next tour will kick off in the second week of February when they play host to Sri Lanka for a five-match T20I series. As of now, the fixture is slated to begin on February 11 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.