Pakistan among four teams to tour NZ

Pakistan cricketer Mohammed Hafeez (R) is watched by New Zealand's wicketkeeper Tim Seifert as he plays a shot during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at The Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 31, 2018. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

WELLINGTON: West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh have all confirmed they will tour New Zealand during the southern hemisphere summer, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White said on Tuesday.

Under the International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Programme, West Indies were scheduled to play three Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals in New Zealand, while Pakistan will play two Tests and three Twenty20 games.

The five Tests — against West Indies and Pakistan — form part of the World Test Championship.

Bangladesh were due to play both One-day International and T20 series and Australia will round out the season in a three-match T20 series against New Zealand next March.

“We’re making tremendous progress,” White told reporters on Tuesday. “Just on the phone actually to the West Indies, they are confirmed. Pakistan have confirmed, Australia and Bangladesh. So, 37 days of international cricket. We’ll go through the detail of that in due course.” New Zealand has managed to largely contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and has held a national rugby competition in front of big crowds over the last couple of months.

White also confirmed that the ‘White Ferns’ women’s cricket team will tour Australia in September and reciprocate by hosting the Southern Stars in February, when New Zealand would have been staging the postponed 50-over World Cup.

He said NZC would be looking at the biosecurity model being used by England to host Test series against West Indies and Pakistan and were discussing details of quarantine for incoming teams with the New Zealand government.

“It’s a lot of cricket,” he added. “We’ll just be held up for a week or two while we work with the government agencies on the managed isolation but they’ve been tremendously supportive and making really good progress.”

White said managed isolation arrangements for the visiting teams were still being worked out with officials in Wellington, but the tours would proceed but declined to release schedules of the tours until details had been worked out.

“We’re working through that with the related groups at the moment, a similar concept… the agencies have been really supportive, the government’s been fantastic,” he said.

All international arrivals into New Zealand are currently required to spend at least 14 days in strictly supervised quarantine.

But New Zealanders domestically are enjoying a near-normal, pre-coronavirus lifestyle with no social distancing and spectators allowed at sports and cultural events.

The South Pacific country has recorded only 22 Covid-19 deaths in a population of five million, and this week marked 100 days since its last case of community transmission.