England might face Sri Lanka and India: Coronavirus-free New Zealand is being considered as a potential neutral venue for international cricket.
New Zealand has become the first country among Test cricket nations to completely get rid of the novel coronavirus. The Super Rugby competition resuming post the COVID-19 lockdown with an expectation of a sell-out crowd speaks highly about the improvement in the situation over there.
Coronavirus free NZ! Congratulations everyone 😁
Once again those great kiwi attributes: planning, determination and teamwork do the job 🎉
— Jimmy Neesham (@JimmyNeesh) June 8, 2020
While no cricket is scheduled to take place in New Zealand in the near future, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that not just the Kiwis but other nations might also look at playing cricket without the restrictions such as bio-secure environment or playing behind closed doors.
Most recently, former Australia batsman Dean Jones had even suggested to conduct the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 (originally scheduled to be played in Australia) in New Zealand citing the lack of risk over there regarding the global pandemic.
Jacinda Ardern said NZ could move to alert level 1 next week, which means all social distancing measures and curbs on mass gatherings will be lifted, she said. Maybe play the T20 WC there? #justathought
— Dean Jones AM (@ProfDeano) June 3, 2020
England might face Sri Lanka and India
New Zealand, who hosted matches as a neutral venue during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, might be eyeing another stint as England Cricket Board is reportedly wanting to play international cricket in New Zealand.
In an interaction with iNews, Head of the New Zealand Players’ Association Heath Miller opened up on the prospect of New Zealand operating as a neutral venue in the near future.
“Anything we could do down here to help would be a good thing for the game globally. I know there have been discussions. We have tours ourselves before Christmas and I suspect all that will roll out as usual.
“I could see New Zealand operating as a neutral venue, that’s a definite possibility. I know New Zealand cricket have been in contact with the ECB, and others, about the potential for that to happen this summer,” Mills was quoted as saying by iNews.
England, who had to forfeit their tour of Sri Lanka despite landing in the island nation in March, might well play it in New Zealand now in the absence of coronavirus. Also slated to tour India in February next year, it might be another series which could be played in New Zealand subject to the state of the pandemic in India.
While the same remains unconfirmed and in fact is too early to confirm, Mills highlighted how logistical issues and time zones will act as challenges which might hamper the development.
“Nothing has been confirmed but I know there would be a willingness, certainly on the part of New Zealand, to do what it could. There are a few logistical issues, namely the number of grounds we have and the volume of cricket we can play in any one year.
“There are barriers and we’re not the best broadcast time-zone but I think in theory this could happen. And I definitely believe from a global point of view, we all need to do whatever we can to help each other at the moment,” Mills added.