New Zealand Cricket (NZC) says tours involving only two test matches are likely to become the norm with the introduction from 2020 of a world test championship.
NZC on Wednesday announced its domestic schedule for the 2017-2018 season, which features tours by the West Indies, England and Pakistan comprising a total of 43 days of international cricket but only four tests.
The West Indies, who open the international season with a test in Wellington on Dec. 1, were due to play three test matches. But NZC has cut one of those tests and the tour now comprises two tests, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s.
NZC chief executive David White told reporters that fit with the likely template for future tours if the test championship is introduced. Under the rules of the championship, the nine test-playing nations will be required to play a minimum of two home and two away series each year.
White said those series would comprise a minimum of two tests, three ODIs and three T20s. While host nations would have the option of staging more tests only two would count towards the test championship.
“We’re hopeful in October the new test match championship will be signed off (by the International Cricket Council),” White said. “In terms of format, what we’re likely to see in the future is two tours, each comprising two tests, three ODIs and three T20s.
“That will be the standard schedule for an international season, 32 days of cricket.
“We dropped that test match to bring (the West Indies series) in line. In saying that, funding test match cricket is becoming more of a challenge. It’s critical in the future we have this test match competition to give it context and look at innovations like the day-night test match.”
New Zealand Cricket hopes the first against England at Auckland’s Eden Park from March 22 to 26 will be a day-night match _ the first test under lights in New Zealand.
The trust controlling Eden Park has applied for approval from the Auckland City Council to play the match at night and is awaiting its decision which will take into account the views of local residents.
“It’s been quite a lengthy process but we’re hopeful that we’ll have a day-night test match there,” White said. “It’s critical for the future of test cricket at Eden Park, definitely.
“In terms of day-night test matches we’re confident it’s going to go well and it’s going to have a big part in the future of the international program.”
The West Indies will play tests at Wellington from Dec. 1 to 5 and Hamilton from Dec. 9 to 13. England’s itinerary includes the proposed day-night test and another at Christchurch from Mar. 30 to April 3, along with five one-day internationals.
Pakistan will play five one-day internationals and three Twenty20s in January and New Zealand will play a one-day tri-series involving England and Australia in February.