Cricket: Famine to feast for NZ-Oz cricket

By David Leggat

Cricket Australia hopes the Proteas will agree to  a pink-ball test in the name of the fans.  Photo / AP
Cricket Australia hopes the Proteas will agree to a pink-ball test in the name of the fans. Photo / AP

Famine to feast; New Zealand are now enjoying a cosy relationship with Australia.

Having been treated dismissively in recent years, New Zealand have home and away Chappell-Hadlee ODI series coming up next summer, to follow their back-to-back test series last season.

The teams will meet at the Sydney Cricket Ground on December 4, at Canberra's Manuka Oval two days later and finish up at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 9.

The series slots between Australia's two incoming test tours by South Africa and Pakistan and will be the first Chappell-Hadlee clashes in Australia since 2008-09.

And there's a return series of three matches early next year in New Zealand, as New Zealand fans get used to a hefty dose of the green and gold after a fallow period.

"The clash between Australia and New Zealand at the MCG is sure to be an exciting cricket spectacle [especially as] it marks the first time the two sides have met at the MCG since the thrilling final of the World Cup [last year]," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland enthused yesterday.

It will just be New Zealand's fourth visit to the SCG in the last 10 years, after losses in 2007 and 2009 plus a no result in 2007.

Similarly, the final game will be the fourth encounter at the cavernous MCG in the last decade, after a five-wicket loss in 2007, a six-wicket win in February 2009 and last March's World Cup final defeat.

Cricket Australia has released its schedule for next summer, which includes incoming visits from South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

For the first time in almost 20 years, Brisbane will not be the opening test venue. Instead South Africa's first test will be in Perth, starting on November 3, with subsequent tests in Hobart and Adelaide.

And trouble is brewing too. Adelaide was hoped to be a day-night test, to capitalise on the spectacular success of the inaugural pink ball test against New Zealand last December - at least spectacular in terms of viewing and crowd attendance perspectives, if not greeted with unanimous approval by the players.

South Africa have baulked at playing a day-nighter, without any buildup although CA is working overtime to get that deal over the line.

However CA is not going to open its purse to entice the South Africans, as it did with New Zealand ahead of last December's match.

CA's view is the A$1 million ($1.1 million) purse for that series was a one-off to get day-night tests off the ground.

Sutherland was flying to Dubai last night for urgent talks with his Protea counterparts without a cheque book. CA reckons the South Africans should agree to a day-night test for the advancement of test cricket.

And it expects Australia's players to play ball despite their reservations, sparking a revival for test cricket being the main objective.

"Understandably, there is some concern from the South African players," Sutherland said.

"But day-night test cricket is all about the fans and a day-night match in Adelaide will be a bigger test match crowd than the South African players will have ever experienced."

New Zealand were offered a A$1 million incentive to help the players make up their minds to play under lights last December. The 2-0 series loss meant the Australian players pocketed A$600,000, New Zealand A$400,000.

Pakistan's opening test in Brisbane will be under lights, the Pakistanis are up for the pink ball challenge, and Queensland authorities looking to lift dwindling crowd numbers. They then play Australia in the traditional Melbourne and Sydney tests over Christmas and New Year.

New Zealand's next international activity is a tour to Zimbabwe and South Africa in August; followed by a trip to India in October before incoming visits from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia and South Africa in a bumper summer.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 28 Sep 2016 21:36:25 Processing Time: 552ms