NZ border causes more cricket drama

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Australia’s tour of New Zealand has been scrapped. Picture: Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

Australia’s upcoming T20 series against New Zealand has been cancelled due to concerns around New Zealand’s border restrictions.

Australia had been set to play three matches across the ditch on March 17, 18 and 20, but the New Zealand government’s decision to delay the relaxation of its hard border has forced the matches to be scrapped.

The matches were due to be New Zealand’s first chance to avenge last year’s T20 World Cup heartbreak – the Aussies defeated the Black Caps in the tournament final in November to taste T20 World Cup glory for the very first time.


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Wednesday’s cancellation comes after New Zealand pulled out of its limited overs tour of Australia, originally set to wrap up on Tuesday, for similar reasons.

Australia had been preparing to send an undermanned squad to New Zealand; most of the country’s premier multi-format players were on Tuesday named in the squad to tour to Pakistan, which would have ruled them out of the trip across the Tasman.

Australia won’t meet the old foe next month after all. Picture: Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images
Australia won’t meet the old foe next month after all. Picture: Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said it was a shame to cancel the tour, but that his hands, and those of Cricket Australia, were tied.

“At the time we scheduled the visit there was a lot of hope that the trans-Tasman border would be open for those who met the right criteria,” he said.

“However, the advent of Omicron has, unfortunately, changed everything at the border and has made it impossible for us to continue with the series.

“It’s disappointing – but we know it’s the same for businesses and individuals and other sports, and we’re grateful for the international schedule we have.”

Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley shared White’s disappointment.

“We thank NZ Cricket for making every effort to host the series but unfortunately it wasn‘t possible given the border restrictions and quarantine requirements,” he said.

Australia is set to host Sri Lanka for a five-match T20 series from Friday, before sending a squad to Pakistan for a multi-format tour in March.

Marcus Harris was named in the Pakistan squad despite a lukewarm Ashes campaign. Ashes heroes Usman Khawaja, Travis Head and Scott Boland are also set to feature.


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