At last it's over; yesterday's heavy beating by England at Hagley Oval marked the end of the long march for New Zealand cricket fans.

New Zealand have played 23 T20 or ODIs back to back over the last 80 days. Sure there have been some memorable days, and nights, but New Zealand will go into the first test against England under lights at Eden Park starting on March 22 having not played test cricket since the end of the second West Indies test in Hamilton on December 12.

It has been a long march and much of it tedious for those who prefer their cricket in the primary form.

But the cricket public should be prepared for a similar attritional road next season.


The World Cup in England in 2019 will be the main focus for New Zealand in their home season, and this summer has laid out a possible template for home summers to come, depressing as it will be.

Perhaps as few as four tests and a pile of short-form matches. The most likely test opponents at home next season appear to be Sri Lanka before Christmas and Bangladesh later in the season. There's precious little to be excited about out of that, if it's what does transpire.

Test matches are expensive to run, no question about that, but there's also times when a sport has to face up to financial hit for the overall good of the game. Whether New Zealand Cricket see it that way is a moot point.

So what's been learnt on this route march to, well, nowhere. It has felt like going in a circle, ODIs, then T20s, then more ODIs, then a bucket of T20s and finally five more ODIs to wrap it all up.

New Zealand started the summer No 1 ranked T20 side. They are now fourth, the same spot they occupy in the 50-over format.

They began with a roar, albeit against lame Caribbean opposition and better, but erratic Pakistan.

However they went on a depressing run of losing eight of 10 matches late on, having won their first 11 completed games.

New Zealand reinforced they can play quality ODI cricket, but remain reliant on a clutch of key performers, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill predominantly in the batting; Trent Boult, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi with the ball.

The season now concludes with the keenly-awaited two tests against England, including the pink-ball day-nighter at Eden Park later this month. They've been a long time coming.


New Zealand's limited-overs season:

Dec 20: bt West Indies by 5 wkts, Whangarei (ODI)

Dec 23: bt West Indies by 204 runs, Christchurch (ODI)

Dec 26: bt West Indies by 66 runs, Christchurch (ODI)

Dec 29: bt West Indies by 47 runs, Nelson (T20)

Jan 1: v West Indies, Mt Maunganui, n/r (T20)

Jan 3: bt West Indies by 119 runs, Mt Maunganui (T20)

Jan 6: bt Pakistan by 61 runs, Wellington (ODI)

Jan 9: bt Pakistan by 8 wkts, Nelson (ODI)

Jan 13: bt Pakistan by 183 runs, Dunedin (ODI)

Jan 16: bt Pakistan by 5 wkts, Hamilton (ODI)

Jan 19: bt Pakistan by 15 runs, Wellington (ODI)

Jan 22: bt Pakistan by 7 wkts, Wellington (T20)

Jan 25: lost to Pakistan by 48 runs, Auckland (T20)

Jan 28: lost to Pakistan by 18 runs, Mt Maunganui (T20)

Feb 3: lost to Australia by 7 wkts, Sydney (T20

Feb 13: bt England by 12 runs, Wellington (T20)

Feb 16: lost to Australia by 5 wkts, Auckland (T20)

Feb 18: lost to England by 2 runs, Hamilton (T20)

Feb 21: lost to Australia by 19 runs (D/L), Auckland (T20)

Feb 25: bt England by 3 wkts, Hamilton (ODI)

Feb 28: lost to England by 6 wkts, Mt Maunganui (ODI)

March 3: lost to England by 4 runs, Wellington (ODI)

March 7: bt England by 5 wkts, Dunedin (ODI)

March 10: lost to England by 7 wkts, Christchurch (ODI)

T20s: P 11, W4, L6, N/R 1

ODIs: P 13, W10, L3

Key point: Won their first 11 completed games; Lost nine of their last 12.