New Zealand Cricket announced a jam-packed home schedule that begins in the upcoming summer of 2023-24, with the big news being a Test series against Australia for the first time since 2015.
They are set to host a total of 32 men’s and women’s international matches this year, which includes a historic Test series against Trans-Tasman rivals Australia. This will be the first time Australia’s men’s team will be playing a Test match in the Kiwi lands since 2015 when Australia won the three-match series 2-0.
This mega home summer for the Black Caps will begin on December 17 against Bangladesh, who will be travelling Down Under for an ODI and T20I series. Dunedin, Nelson, Napier and Tauranga will be staging the Bangladesh matches. This will be followed by the arrival of Pakistan earlier in January 2024, where they will play five T20Is in a bid to prepare for the upcoming 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The Pakistan series will be played across Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin and Christchurch.
Bumper season for New Zealand continues
Following that, Australia will play two Tests in Wellington and Christchurch. The dates for the series are yet to be announced, but one of the Test matches is likely to begin in the final week of February while the second one will be played in the first week of March. The rampant home schedule for the men’s setup will culminate with the visit of South Africa, who are set to play two Tests in Hamilton and Tauranga.
New Zealand have a dismal record in Test matches against both Australia and South Africa and will be hoping to better those statistics during these meetings. In 60 Tests against the Aussies, they won just eight times, while winning only five matches against South Africa in 47 Tests.
As for the women’s team, they will begin their summer with a three-match T20I series against Pakistan on December 3, followed by as many ODIs. They will not be playing at home again until March, when they will be hosting England to play five T20Is and three ODIs.
“It's a hugely exciting time for cricket in New Zealand, both in terms of the great series and teams on offer this summer, and the ability for fans to either attend the matches first-hand or watch live on TV at no charge,” NZC chief executive David White said.
NZC has also taken into account the need to increase the number of doubleheaders to tackle resource wastage and attract different types of audiences to the stadium. There will be a minimum of 10 double-headers throughout this schedule, with the men's and women's game following each other on the same day. White also assured that they have worked on increasing the number of venues with lights.
“In terms of venues with lights, we've been able to schedule several back-to-back night matches and day matches to ensure good opportunities for both families and adult patrons, respectively, which we think is good for the game. It's a strategy that also complements our need to prioritise energy efficiency – and to just do the right thing as a sports organisation, given the challenges we're facing from climate change these days,” White added.
New Zealand’s summer of extravagant cricketing action begins shortly after the ICC Cricket World Cup which is set to be played in India. The Kiwis, who narrowly missed out on the crown last time, are set to tussle England, last edition’s champions, in the opening match of the tournament in Ahmedabad. Skipper Kane Williamson has already been ruled out of the tournament due to an injury he sustained during this year's Indian Premier League.