Speculation of an impending haircut to domestic cricket's first-class programme has been scuttled.

The 10-round Plunket Shield competition will remain intact for at least next summer and most likely beyond.

Although New Zealand Cricket are working their way through a $9.3 million deficit on their books, and the Shield is an expensive exercise, an NZC spokesman said there are no plans to trim it back at least next season.

The Shield should be seen as an investment in the game and developing New Zealand first-class cricketers is paramount. Even if it is an example of a loss leader, it needs to be fostered.


Talks of a cutback come as it was revealed NZC will present a $9.3 million loss to its annual meeting next week.

That is balanced by incoming revenue from the biggest broadcast rights deal it has secured, with Star Sports India to screen internationals in New Zealand into the subcontinent for the next three years.

Put the loss down to significant changes at the International Cricket Council. When the so-called Big Three - India, Australia and England - were pulled back into line by ICC president Shashank Manohar, who led the way back to more equity among member nations, it meant a reworking of the financial model.

The goal posts moved on the incoming financial arrangements. In short, that change meant the ICC will be giving NZC US$128 million over the 2015-23 period, which is far more than what would have been US$88 million. However, the money won't be coming in even packages, which means a deficit will be offset by the belief NZC will benefit towards the latter part of that period.

Meanwhile Auckland, after a dismal start to their Shield campaign, are in sight of a first victory in their third-round clash with Otago at Eden Park's outer oval.

Otago, needing 321 to win, start today at 140 for six, with Derek de Boorder on 39.

New Zealand limited-overs international quick Lockie Ferguson has picked up two more wickets in the second innings, giving him nine so far for the match, while debutant left-armer Ben Lister has taken three wickets for 41 runs.

Northern Districts are 112 for three going into the final day requiring 290 to beat competition leaders Wellington.

ND, who trailed by 131 on the first innings, hit back by dismissing Wellington for 158 in their second innings.

International batsman Dean Brownlie, after 82 in the first innings, is on 43, and ND's big hope today.

In Christchurch, Canterbury are 143 for four, following on 304 runs behind Central Districts, still needing another 161 to make CD bat a second time.