WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s government has given the go ahead for the Pakistan and West Indies teams to tour the country later this year and in early 2021, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said on Friday.
New Zealand has been one of the world’s most successful nations at containing the new coronavirus and the country’s borders remain closed to almost all visitors.
NZC has nevertheless promised a bumper home summer of international cricket, including test matches against Pakistan and West Indies.
“New Zealand Cricket has received government approval to proceed with plans to host international touring sides this summer … beginning with the West Indies and Pakistan’s men’s teams in November, December and January,” NZC said in a statement.
“A press conference to announce the details of the upcoming summer’s international … schedule will be held early next week.”
NZC is also hoping to host Bangladesh in limited overs internationals as well as the Australian women’s team in February when New Zealand would have been staging the now postponed 50-overs World Cup.
Officials said last month they would be looking at the biosecurity ‘bubble’ model used by England to host recent test series against the West Indies and Pakistan.
New Zealand Minister of Sport Grant Robertson said Netball New Zealand had also been given permission to resume hosting international matches but that all incoming teams would be subject to strict protocols.
“Getting teams into managed isolation and allowing them to train and be competitive has not been an easy task,” he said.
“While sports teams will be operating within a bubble, safety will be ensured through the provision of normal infection prevention control mechanisms like physical separation, normal hygiene practices and PPE.
“Training facilities will also be secure, safe and isolated.”
New Zealand will also host Australia in two Bledisloe Cup rugby internationals in Wellington and Auckland next month.