27 international matches this summer; of which 4 are tests.
There are 13 ODIs and, count them, 10 T20 internationals.
The season is bookended, and that makes sense, by test matches but there is more than a three month gap before that pair of series. England have their first two test series here since 1975.
There is a lot to look forward to about this season, but that is a very long time between tests. With no proper research whatsoever, that has to be a record for a gap in test cricket in a single contiguous cricket season.
It starts with two tests against the West Indies in early December, and there’s a certain risk around the only test of the season being held at the Basin Reserve then. The pōhutukawa will not be in bloom then.
It is understood that the short form versions fund the whole thing but it seems sad that the week / 10 days leading up to Christmas does not feature a third test. That is a difficult slot to attract spectators here and in Australia. The ODI in Whangarei might go OK, but an ODI in Christchurch on 23rd December will struggle.
The Pakistan leg of the summer is a follow-on from last year’s two test series. An ODI in Dunedin at 13 Jan is a bold move; typically the locals are still up central. In fact, that whole 5ODI series looks to be a bit of a struggle.
The other point to note is that McLean Park serve their punishment in the last game being moved to the Basin.
When the T20s come around the interest will be in the crowd numbers. Westpac on Anniversary Day at 4pm (that could work), Eden Park on a Thursday and Bay Oval on an Auckland Anniversary Sunday evening. Visually at least, Bay Oval will win that one.
The Tri-nations T20 competition, at the expense of the Trevor-Barry Trophy will generate a lot of interest; if only because it’s a new shiny thing.
The gamble is a final on a Wednesday night at Eden Park. Let’s hope the home side is represented. Maybe all those T20 games at Bay Oval might have some importance after all.
We are the England
Once every five years or so the Barmy Army comes to town. Faced with the challenge of the Pakistan ODI above the University Oval gets to host an ODI on Wed 7 March. Promises to be a highlight.
Hasn’t Bay Oval come a long way since it was introduced to international cricket in late 2014? And by investing and adding lights they’ve got the rewards. This summer they get three twilight T20 matches. Two of them are over the New Year’s holiday period, and the other one in at Auckland Anniversary weekend.
MacLean Park gets the one game (28 Feb, ODI v England). Let’s hope they realise just how big that is.
The Worrying Sign
Thu 22 — Mon 26 Mar 18 1st Test Eden Park 14:00*
That last asterisk. That Eden Park NIMBY Association has an awful lot to answer for.