COVID-19 induced lockdown puts New Zealand's domestic season 2021-22 in shambles

COVID-19 induced lockdown puts New Zealand’s domestic season 2021-22 in shambles

GM of cricket operations for NZC Catherine Campbell thanked six major associations for their support amidst COVID-19 challenges in Auckland.

Central Stags
Central Stags. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Although cricket has resumed post-pandemic, it is still not back in full swing. Well, certainly New Zealand’s players who were hoping to get some cricket by playing domestic cricket have now been hit hard. The domestic season for 2021-22, which was about to get underway in New Zealand has now been hit with all four Auckland and Northern Districts match not being played due to Auckland’s level 3 and 4 lockdown protocols which are necessary to curb further rising cases.

The announcement was made by New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Monday (27 September) before the start of the new domestic season. Defending champions of Plunket Shield Canterbury will kick off the season by playing a match on Saturday (23 October). They will a match against Central Stags at Hagley Oval.  The team is led by Ross Taylor. Apart from that, there is another match set to be played at the Basin Reserve, 2019-20 champions Wellington Firebirds will play hosts to Otago Volts.

General Manager of cricket operations for NZC and a former World Cup winner Catherine Campbell, understood the gravity of the situation in getting the season underway whilst the COVID-19 Delta outbreak. “It’s certainly been a challenge. I’d like to thank all six major Associations and their teams, along with the CPA, for their assistance and cooperation,” she said in an official release.

Apart from men’s domestic season, the women’s matches will also get underway with the Central Hinds and Otago Sparks starting the proceedings on October 30 and 31, with Hallyburton Johnstone, matches with the focus and limelight being shed to improve the women’s sport in New Zealand.

Auckland matches delayed due to COVID-19 protocols in New Zealand

The situation and its impact are a little higher for the Auckland games. Although the NZC is allowing the state players sufficient time to get ready for the domestic season, the Auckland Aces team will now have to wait till round three to get started with the Plunkett Shield.

The first match, for now, is scheduled for Sunday, November 7. The team’s rounds one and two matches have now been postponed, with the announcement of rescheduled matches soon to be shared by NZC in the coming few days. Meanwhile, the women’s defending finalists of last season Auckland Hearts and defending champions Canterbury Magicians will also play their matches a bit late.