Key players of the New Zealand cricket team including skipper Kane Williamson could miss the series against Pakistan, scheduled for next month, as it clashes with the dates of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The series that includes three ODIs and five T20Is starts from September 17, just two days before the second phase of the Indian Premier League (IPL) begins in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Eight players of New Zealand’s current squad -- Williamson, Trent Boult, James Neesham, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Seifert, Kyle Jamieson, Adam Milne, and Mitchell Santner -- represent different IPL franchises. While an official announcement has yet to be made, it is likely that these members, or some of them, could miss the Pakistan series.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief David White had already confirmed the availability of its players for the second leg of IPL long before the series schedule against Pakistan was chalked out.
The likely absence of key players would lower the competitiveness of the series that was scheduled from a preparation point of view ahead of the T20 World Cup scheduled in the UAE in October.
The series is also crucial for Pakistan as it looks to host one of the top teams that have refrained from touring the country after the 2009 attack on a bus carrying Sri Lanka cricketers to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
New Zealand, who finished runners-up in the 2019 50-overs World Cup and are also the reigning world test champions, will visit Pakistan for the first time in 18 years.
On the other hand, England’s main players including their white-ball captain Eoin Morgan are also likely to miss Pakistan’s tour where the team is due to play two T20Is on October 14 and 15 due to their IPL commitments. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have already postponed their tour to Bangladesh as it also clashes with the IPL.
India’s lucrative T20 league was postponed in April after a Covid-19 outbreak in the bio-secure bubble that infected more than a dozen players. The event has been rescheduled to take place in the UAE before the all-important T20 World Cup, pencilled in from October 17 to November 14.