Cricket: England set to play pink-ball Test in New Zealand in March of next year

By David Leggat

England's pink-ball revolution is set to continue in 2018 in New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.
England's pink-ball revolution is set to continue in 2018 in New Zealand. Photo / Getty Images.

New Zealand Cricket are determined to host England in a pink ball test next summer - and are prepared to take the second match away from Eden Park if there are significant obstacles in the way.

As it stands, the two tests on England's visit in February-March are set down for Christchurch's Hagley Oval, which doesn't have lights, and Eden Park, which has only hosted two tests since 2006, a thrilling draw, which went to the last ball with England nine down in 2013, and a gripping win against India in February 2014.

However there are major problems using Eden Park at night. There are significant resource consent issues.

For all the rugby and cricket events staged under lights at Eden Park, there has never been a fixture on a Sunday night.

NZC's problem is if that can't be over-turned, they would have to play a test there during the week, rather than incorporating a potentially spectator-friendly Sunday.

However it is understood NZC won't abandon pink ball plans for the sake of keeping the test at Eden Park. That brings Hamilton's Seddon Park and, a long shot, Wellington's Westpac Stadium into the picture.

England are facing the prospect of playing three day-night tests in eight months - against the West Indies at Edgbaston in August, the second Ashes test in Adelaide just before Christmas and then in New Zealand.

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And New Zealand are in contention to be invited to visit India twice later this year - first on an A tour around September, then a few weeks later for a series of ODI and T20 internationals.

New Zealand were in India late last year, losing their test series 3-0.

India are due to host Pakistan at the end of this year but that visit is unlikely to take place.

The countries haven't met in any bilateral matches, that is, outside International Cricket Council multi-team events, since January 2013.

India would therefore need a replacement to fill the gap and it's understood New Zealand are prominent on their radar.

Neither tour is confirmed and the protocol for confirming tours is generally the prerogative of the home side.

New Zealand's A tour history in recent years is spotty, although there's a desire to try and have one trip, or incoming visit, each year.

Sri Lanka A were in New Zealand in late 2015; New Zealand went to the United Arab Emirates in November 2014 and New Zealand went to India and Sri Lanka in late 2013.

The increase in money likely to come New Zealand Cricket's way as a result of the impending governance and funding changes at the ICC are expected to partly help enhance an A programme.

- NZ Herald

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