Cricket has been greatly affected by the coronavirus epidemic. The game was halted for several months due to the rise in cases of the COVID-19 and the lockdowns imposed by governments across the globe.
Cricket boards scrambled to rise to the challenge as they faced a cash crunch and other problems due to non-activity.
However, the real impact of the pandemic on domestic and international cricket has gradually started to decrease around the world at the end of July.
Pakistan vs England 2020
In August, International cricket had returned after months of coronavirus-enforced lockdown.
On September 03, Pakistan national cricket team returned to the country after completing England tour – comprising three Tests and as many Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) – in a bio-secure environment.
England won the Test series 1-0. Pakistan won the final T20I to level the series 1-1 after the hosts secured victory in the second game. The first encounter was rained off.
The players were satisfied over their England tour amidst the coronavirus pandemic and termed it as a wonderful experience, adding that they learned a lot and played good cricket.
Wasim Khan, Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Executive thanked and congratulated the 44-member squad on the completion of the challenging, demanding and unprecedented tour of England in the backdrop of the COVID19 situation.
Now, Pakistani cricket fans were waiting eagerly cricket series between Pakistan and New Zealand, the schedule of which has been released today.
New Zealand announces schedule
The cricket authorities in New Zealand have released details of Pakistan’s tour during which the green shirts will play three T20Is and two Test matches.
New Zealand Cricket also announced the schedule of matches with the West Indian team which will begin its tour with a Twenty20 match at Eden Park on Nov 27.
The New Zealand government had green-lighted the West Indies and Pakistan tours and was also expected to approve white-ball tours by Australia and Bangladesh in February and March.
The two teams Pakistan and New Zealand will play three T20Is and two Tests from December 18 to January 7, with each international, played at a different venue.
In accordance with coronavirus protocols ordered by the New Zealand authorities, the Pakistan team will enter a two-week quarantine period in Lincoln once they reach New Zealand in the last week of November.
The relatively low rate of coronavirus transmission in New Zealand means the bio-secure bubble need not be maintained following the expiry of the quarantine period.
Aside from the largest metropolis, Auckland, the whole nation is operating under what is known as Level one conditions, which effectively means no restrictions on movement besides border control.
At one point, the nation went over 100 days without an officially recorded positive Covid-19 case, and a second wave that saw a few hundred further cases has been all but extinguished.
By contrast, when the Pakistan side toured England for three Tests and three T20Is over the summer, the bio-secure bubble was strictly maintained throughout the tour.
With no internal restrictions in the country outside of Auckland, ESPNcricinfo understands NZC are privately confident there will be crowd attendance for at least four of the five internationals on the tour.
Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand could become the first international cricket played since the COVID-19 outbreak that is not played in front of empty stadiums.
First T20I on 18th December
According to the schedule, Pakistan and New Zealand will play the first T20I on 18th December at Eden Park. The second T20I will be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton on 20th December, while the third will be played at McLean Park, Napier on 22nd December.
Both sides will play a Boxing Day Test at Mount Maunganui while the second Test match will begin on 3rd January at Hagley Oval, Christchurch. New Zealand is placed fourth on the points table at present and will hope to utilize the home advantage to climb up the ranks.
New Zealand will play the visiting England side in February and March. It is currently involved in a three-match T20I series in Australia that is followed by three ODIs.
Pakistan tour of New Zealand
1st T20I, Eden Park (Auckland) on 18 Dec
2nd T20I, Seddon Park (Hamilton) on 20 Dec
3rd T20I, McLean Park (Napier) on 22 Dec
1st Test, Bay Oval (Mount Maunganui) 26-30 Dec
2nd Test, Hagley Oval (Christchurch) 03-07 Jan
After three T20s against West Indies, New Zealand play the first test against the Caribbeans at Seddon Park in Hamilton from Dec. 3 and the second at Wellington’s Basin Reserve from Dec. 11.
The Black Caps will also play three T20s against Pakistan before their test series, with the first test from Dec. 26 at Tauranga and the second from Jan. 3 in Christchurch.
From 2007 to 2018
A total of 21 T20I matches were played between the two teams for 12 years from 2007 to 2018 out of which 13 were won by Pakistan while eight matches were won by New Zealand.
Pakistan was last in New Zealand for a limited-overs tour in 2018, with the hosts sweeping the ODI series 5-0, while Pakistan triumphed in the T20I leg 2-1 to rise to the No. 1 ranking in that format. The last time the two sides played Test cricket in New Zealand was in 2016, with New Zealand winning both Test matches.
Pakistan and New Zealand have an amazing history in Test cricket. A total of 58 Test matches were played between Pakistan and New Zealand, of which 25 were won by Pakistan, while 12 were by New Zealand and 21 matches were with no result.
Therefore, it hoped that the Pakistan team will surprise the nation with triumph as the team is also committed to defeating the New Zealand cricket team.
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