Australia-NZ white-ball series postponed

Murray Wenzel, Ben McKay and Scott Bailey |

Australia is poised for its first home summer without men’s one-day cricket in more 40 years after New Zealand’s inability to secure hotel quarantine prompted a series postponement.

A week before the Black Caps were due to land in Australia, officials were forced to push back the white-ball series indefinitely with New Zealand unable to travel and return home.

At this stage the three ODIs and one Twenty20 have only been postponed, but no new date has been set and there is no certainty it will be played this summer.

The news comes as a massive financial hit to Cricket Australia, who had already began selling tickets to games and have an exclusive broadcast deal with Fox Sports for white-ball content.

Australia still have five Twenty20s to play against Sri Lanka next month, but the decision will leave CA without any international 50-over matches.

Australia has had ODI matches on home soil in every summer since 1978-79, while World Series Cricket staged eight unsanctioned ODIs in 1977-78.

The postponement is also a major embarrassment for New Zealand Cricket (NZC).

NZC failed to book places in quarantine for their return – which remains compulsory for all arrivals in New Zealand – after believing the border laws would have been scrapped in time for the tour.

“As we now know, the advent of Omicron prompted a change of heart from the Government, resulting in a hard 10-day mandatory isolation period being imposed on all incoming travellers,” NZC chief executive David White said.

As AAP reported earlier this week, Australia’s whistle-stop three-T20 tour of New Zealand in March is also in grave doubt due to the Ardern Government’s border rules.

As recently as Tuesday, Cricket Australia (CA) and NZC were exploring a lengthening of the Australian tour to maximise matches and minimise time spent in quarantine, but this has also fallen by the wayside.

“NZC and CA had explored a proposal to expand the tour and to push out the date on which the squad might return to New Zealand, in the hope that might be more achievable for the Government,” White said.

“But we received advice this morning that they could not provide certainty over this either.”

CA chief Nick Hockley said he was “extremely disappointed” at the outcome.

“We thank NZC, who made every effort to make the series happen,” he said.

“We know fans will be disappointed and thank them for their understanding given the unique circumstances that the global pandemic presents for everyone.”

The postponement means Ross Taylor will be denied one final tour with the Black Caps, with three home ODIs against the Netherlands in March-April set to be his farewell to international cricket.