At first glance the outrage at New Zealand surfeiting a home test against the world’s best side for the sake of three ODIs seemed justified. But then again this is the rejuvenation of the Chappell-Hadlee series. A series that was last contested as a cling-on to one-off pool games at the 2011 and 2015 Cricket World Cups
And that’s the nuance of language. If you talk about the Rebirth of the Chappell-Hadlee series you are talking it up (NZ Cricket Press Releases); if you talk about just another lot of ODIs (talkback radio and, inevitably, Mark Reason) you are against it. It is so transparent it’s a sport in itself.
While a three test series at home would have been the preferred option there is the reality of economics to be considered. And the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy has a certain romance; on this side of the ditch anyway.
On Feb 28th one of the greatest ODIs ever seen in NZ was played out at Eden Park between these sides. NZC will be looking for a repeat of that Full House. A CH Trophy series will bring in demonstrably more money than another test match. A Cold Hard Fact
CHT is the only bilateral cricket trophy contested by New Zealand that actually has a name. And it is a trophy that despite its short tenure has a warm glow about it in New Zealand.
Ironically, part of that was due to the outstanding series of 2007. Three top-notch ODIs against an under-strength opponent that served as ideal preparation for Australia, as they went on to defend their World Cup unbeaten in the Caribbean.
There is a danger that the Cricket Snob element can get a bit carried away. Sure, two test series are frustrating foreplay as we recently learnt in England. But it is preceded by a three test series away, so let’s close our eyes and pretend it’s all one World Series type five test marathon.
Of course if Australia was able to spare a full month of their precious time over the last six years on this side of the Tasman we would not be having this conversation.