Plenty more T20 for NZ

Sunday News - - SPORT - AN­DREW VOERMAN

TWENTY20, any­one?

Over the next five years, the Black Caps are set to play 59 T20 in­ter­na­tion­als – a fig­ure that doesn’t in­clude those they will have at two world tour­na­ments, in Aus­tralia in Oc­to­ber, 2020, and in In­dia a year later – up from 48 over the past five years.

A re­turn to the MCG to play in Aus­tralia’s an­nual Box­ing Day test in 2019 may have been the eye-catcher when the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil’s Fu­ture Tours Pro­gramme through to 2023 was re­vealed this week, but it’s the rise of T20 that should prove to be its defin­ing fea­ture. RISE OF TWENTY20 The Black Caps played a record 10 T20s at home last sum­mer and while they will have just four next sum­mer, that mark will be eclipsed in 2019-20, when they are set to play 13, and in 2020-21, when they play 18.

The 13 in 2019-20 in­clude a five-match se­ries with Eng­land in Oc­to­ber-Novem­ber, along­side two tests. They also in­clude a five-match se­ries with In­dia, who will also play two tests, later that sum­mer.

The 18 the fol­low­ing sea­son will in­clude a cou­ple of se­ries in Oc­to­ber, be­fore the World T20 in Aus­tralia, then four af­ter it.

T20 may have been played in­ter­na­tion­ally for 13 years, but many still find it hard to take se­ri­ously. The ICC and its mem­bers have de­cided to lead the way, but it re­mains to be seen if fans will be com­pletely happy fol­low­ing. FEWER ONE-DAYERS With T20’s place in the in­ter­na­tional cal­en­dar grow­ing, some­thing has had to give, and it’s one-dayers.

The Black Caps played 91 ODIs in bi­lat­eral se­ries dur­ing the past five years, but are only set to play 61 over the next five years – as well as those they will have at World Cups in Eng­land next June and in In­dia in 2023.

One good bit of news from the FTP is the end of five-match se­ries, at least as far as the Black Caps are con­cerned. In­dia will play that many when they visit early next year, but af­ter that it’s three matches with every­one, which will mean fewer dead rub­bers.

One bit of bad news is that World Cups will be the only place the Black Caps play ODIs against Eng­land and South Africa dur­ing this pe­riod, at least as things stand right now, and that means two big ri­val­ries will be on the back­burner. TESTS NOT DEAD… YET Over the next five years, the FTP has the Black Caps play­ing 38 tests, just four fewer than over the past five years. While they would no doubt have pre­ferred an un­likely in­crease, that will come as re­lief to test spe­cial­ists like Jeet Raval and Neil Wag­ner.

A three-match se­ries in Aust- ralia, fea­tur­ing a Box­ing Day test, in 2019-20, and a three-match se­ries in Eng­land in 2022 stand out as the crown jew­els, and they will need to be trea­sured.

Just 14 of the Black Caps’ 38 tests be­tween now and 2023 will be against Aus­tralia, Eng­land, In­dia and South Africa, while 23 will be against Bangladesh, Pak­istan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies. The other will be a his­toric fix­ture in Ire­land in 2022. PHOTOSPORT

It’s fair to say the first four coun­tries are big­ger at­trac­tions than the last four. That’s es­pe­cially true at home, but only six of the 14 matches against them will be played in New Zealand – four of them in the 2019-20 sum­mer.

Five of the Black Caps’ 17 se­ries in the next five years will con­sist of three tests, while 11 will have two tests, and the stand­alone fix­ture with Ire­land rounds things out.

Leg-spin­ner Ish Sodhi should have more op­por­tu­ni­ties to show­case his tal­ents in the T20 for­mat for New Zealand in the next five years.

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