New Zealand Cricket boss David White has launched a withering attack on information leaked on the next Future Tours Programme, labelling it "incomplete and inaccurate".
According to the stories coming out from various sources, New Zealand are in line for a serious haircut in international commitments in the four years from 2019.
It is claimed the only tests New Zealand will play in the 1920-21 summer will be away to Bangladesh and home to India.
By contrast, the Indians are tipped to be playing 81 matches at home across the three forms from 2019-23.
White is confident when New Zealand cricket fans see the full plan, which he hopes will be made public in February, they will be well satisfied.
"We think we've got a good schedule," White said yesterday. "We have a very similar amount of test cricket we've always had and we're playing all the big guys [Australia, India and England] home and away and we're comfortable with the schedule."
Next summer, New Zealand will go to the United Arab Emirates for three tests, three ODIs and three T20s against Pakistan around October, then Sri Lanka come to New Zealand for tests and short form internationals, and India visit for limited-overs internationals. Australia make a short visit for one-day matches and Bangladesh round out the season coming for tests and limited-overs.
England and India are both touring New Zealand for tests, and some short form internationals, in 2019-20.
The test championship programme will kick in from 2019, in which each country will play six other countries home and away over a two-year period. That leaves three test-playing nations — excluding new arrivals Ireland and Afghanistan — New Zealand won't play until the following two-year stretch.
A report on ESPNcricinfo claims between May 2019 and May 2023, 41 of the 81 test series will consist of two matches; three-test rubbers will drop from 39 per cent in the 2014-19 block to 17 per cent in 2019-23; and while the current FTP programme has 13 four or more test series; and there will be only three four-test series, and four five-test contests in the next four year plan. All involve only India, Australia and England.
White insists the number of tests in a series are irrelevant under the proposed new championship model.
"Whether you have two, three or four-test series is irrelevant. There won't be such a thing as a series because all points will go to the test match championship," he said.
This becomes an issue of context. White is right in one sense, but fans who fear the diminishing of the amount of test cricket, and the number of days of test cricket, would question whether that is in fact irrelevant.
For New Zealand, anything over three tests in a rubber is a pointless conversation, considering New Zealand's last home four-test visit came from India in 1967-68; in the six home summers preceding this, there were four rubbers of three matches apiece, against South Africa, twice, England and the West Indies.
New Zealand were to have a third test on the current West Indies visit but opted to ditch the third in favour of more limited-overs internationals.
White agreed there will be more bilateral T20 series on the horizon, but fewer lengthy ODI series. They are expected to stop at three but no doubt with the rider that the big nations can play as many as they wish against certain opponents.