Extra emphasis placed on ODI and T20 cricket with Tests kept to two-match series in anticipation of new ICC Test Championship structure
A New Zealand summer of home cricket flooded with limited-overs matches has seen a Test series against the West Indies reduced by a match, while the prospect of a first day-night Test remains uncertain.
The Black Caps will welcome the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and England with 43 days of cricket scheduled, with a tour by the West Indies women's team in March and January's ICC Under-19 World Cup adding to a packed schedule.
Four Tests bookend the summer, starting with two against the West Indies and finishing with two against England, the first of which is scheduled to be New Zealand's first with a pink ball under the Eden Park lights in Auckland.
The prospect of a pink ball debut in Auckland on March 22-26 hinges on the outcome of an independent hearing into using lights on a Sunday – something currently prohibited at the venue.
NZC chief executive David White is hopeful approval can be given to the Eden Park Trust, which has applied for resource consent. A decision is expected this month.
"It's been quite a lengthy process but we're hopeful that we'll have a day-night Test match there," White said.
"It's critical for the future of Test cricket at Eden Park, definitely. In terms of day-night Test matches we're confident it's going to go well and it's going to have a big part in the future of the international programme."
There are 23 successive one-day international and Twenty20 matches from December 17 to March 10.
The West Indies visit in December and January has had its Test component cut from three to two, bringing it into line with a mooted Test championship, which is to be ratified by the ICC in October.
A structure of two Tests, three ODIs and three T20s is set to become a standard template for touring teams, White confirmed. The added emphasis on limited-overs matches comes ahead of the 2019 World Cup in England, and the 2020 World T20 to be hosted in Australia.
"The Test game needs to have more context, and be more relevant, especially for the younger generations coming through."
The scrubbed third Test was set down for Christchurch, to follow Tests in Wellington and Hamilton.
Hagley Oval will instead host a Boxing Day ODI against the Caribbean tourists.
An eight-match limited overs visit from Pakistan in January will be followed by a T20 Tri-Series involving England and Australia on both sides of the Tasman, with a final at Eden Park in February 21.
It will be the first T20 Tri-Series contested by full ICC members.
England will then stay on in the Land of the Long White Cloud to play five ODIs ahead of their two Tests.
The drainage overhaul at Napier's McLean Park continues, resulting in the loss of hosting rights for a Pakistan ODI match. That match is shifted to Wellington's Basin Reserve.
White is confident McLean Park will be ready to host an ODI against England on February 28.
The March tour by the West Indian women will be their first to New Zealand, with dates and venues for their three ODIs and five T20s still to be confirmed. Views
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