Black Cap all-rounder Jimmy Neesham describes the eerie experience of playing an ODI against Australia to an empty stadium in Sydney.
The Black Caps’ tour of Europe is officially off after Irish cricket bossess admitted it was “not feasible” due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The Black Caps were due to play five games against Ireland after arriving in Europe next month for a tour that also included 20-over and 50-over matches fixtures against Scotland and Holland.
However, the tour has become the latest sporting event to fall by the wayside.
“It had become fairly obvious following the recent series of Government announcements in the Republic and UK that the New Zealand series was not feasible,” Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said:
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“While of course it’s disappointing for the fans in Northern Ireland who I know were looking forward to the visit of the World Cup runners-up, given the circumstances we entirely understand NZC was left with no choice but to stay at home.”
The cancellation of the tour will come as no great surprise to New Zealand Cricket.
Chief executive David White told Stuff in April that the trip during June-July through Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands and West Indies was in “serious doubt”, while the White Ferns’ scheduled tour of Sri Lanka starting in April has already been postponed.
Calling off the first two tours is understood to save NZC around $1 million.
NZ Cricket has guaranteed its top players their full wages until July 31.
“They will receive their full contract remuneration through to July 31, but as far as next financial year it’s too soon to tell, depending on what the programme is,” White said.
NZC’s financial hits will increase if it has to postpone inbound tours. The first of those are scheduled to be Bangladesh and West Indies in October before the men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia later that month.
“It [T20 World Cup] is incredibly important, and if that is moved then the rest of the international calendar will be adjusted accordingly. We will have to rejig our international programme,” White said.
“It’s no secret our big revenue streams come from international cricket, broadcast, sponsorship etc. If we’re not playing international cricket prior to Christmas that’s going to be a challenge.
“I’d like to think we could play maybe further into next year….It’s very much up in the air.”
New Zealand hosts the Women’s World Cup starting next February and White also hoped that was far enough in the future to proceed as scheduled.
Ireland, on the other hand, now a face a summer without cricket, having also called off a two-match T20 series against Pakistan.
“Unfortunately, with numerous complications around Government roadmap timelines, biosecurity, quarantining, and scheduling harmony, it just hasn’t been possible to find a way to get the matches played,” Deutrom said.
“We deeply regret that we can’t provide any international cricket at home to our fans this year, but we were always up against it with our entire home international programme coming in the first half of the season.”