Black Caps skipper pleased with Future Tours Programme balance

A new ODI Qualification League and World Test Championship; a Boxing Day Test at Melbourne, and a bumper 2019-20 summer with visits from Australia, England, and India – these are just some of the highlights of NZC’s Future Tours Programme (FTP), confirmed today by the International Cricket Council.

The FTP, covering all men’s international cricket from 2018 to 2023, is the first to incorporate the new ODI and Test structures; the former providing automatic ICC World Cup qualification for the top eight-ranked sides, the latter culminating in the inaugural World Test Championship final in England, in June 2021.

Under the new system, the Black Caps’ first involvement in the World Test Championship (WTC) will start in Sri Lanka in August next year.

They will then play two home Tests against England, after which they will cross the Tasman for a much-awaited three-Test series in Australia, including New Zealand’s first Boxing Day Test in Melbourne since 1987.

The Black Caps’ 2019-20 summer programme will also include two home Tests against the current No.1 seeds, India, and a home T20 series against Australia.

The ICC today released the full FTP,  including the schedule for the ODI qualifying league and World Test Championship – the points allocation system for which will be confirmed at a later date.

Nine top-ranked sides will participate in the inaugural edition of the World Test Championship, which will run from 15 July 2019 to 30 April 2021.

The sides will play six series in the two-year cycle on a home and away basis against opponents they have mutually selected. The two top-ranked sides will then progress to the June 2021 final to decide the World Test champions.

In addition, the 12 Test playing nations and the Netherlands, will participate in the 13-team ODI League, which will run from 1 May 2020 to 31 March 2022 and all the sides will play eight series over a two-year cycle on a home and away basis against mutually agreed opponents.

As has been the norm in previous FTPs, the Black Caps have tailored their schedule to match the requirements of the several ICC Tournaments on the roster: the ICC Cricket World Cups (50 overs) in 2019 and 2023, and the ICC World T20s in 2020 and 2021.

NZC chief executive David White said under the new arrangements, cricket fans in New Zealand could look forward to a strong mix of international content at home, as well as greater interest in Tests and ODIs not involving the Black Caps.

“By bringing more relevance and context into Test and ODI cricket we can farewell what used to be known as neutral games, and introduce interest into every fixture, no matter which side is playing,” he said.

“In a rapidly-evolving world, this will help increase engagement in cricket and grow the game both locally and globally.”

Mr White said he was pleased with the Black Caps’ upcoming international programme in terms of the variety and quality on offer.

“There are a number of highlights there, with all the marquee teams visiting and some eagerly awaited contests looming – not least those 2019-20 Tests against England, Australia and India.”

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson said the new FTP represented a solid move in the right direction for world cricket and was packed full of content over all three formats.

“It’s exciting for fans and players to see the new context which is being given to ODI and Test cricket,” said Williamson.

“There’s a lot to look forward to, but it’s hard to go past the three match Test series in Australia next year as a highlight. I think all New Zealanders will have a circle around that one.”

The Black Caps will play Pakistan away in October-November of this year before returning home to host visits from Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh.

NZC will release the full schedule for that home summer, including dates and venues, in the near future.