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Trans-Tasman cricket chiefs plan to seize on travel bubble to restart game

Australia’s players will be starved of cricket over winter, with the Indian Premier League and a Test tour of Bangladesh abandoned, a limited-overs tour of England in July almost certain to follow suit, the Hundred in England cancelled and the County Championship held up indefinitely.

The next matches scheduled in Australia are against Zimbabwe in the Top End in August but they are far from certain to go ahead. The same applies to the Twenty20 World Cup here in October and November.

The answer may be for Australia and New Zealand to kickstart the international game with trans-Tasman matches between their men’s and women’s teams.

Kane Williamson and Aaron Finch led New Zealand and Australia respectively in a series that was aborted in March.

Kane Williamson and Aaron Finch led New Zealand and Australia respectively in a series that was aborted in March.Credit:Getty Images

The final two matches of a three-game men’s ODI series between the teams were called off in March after the first had been played behind closed doors at the SCG.

“I’ve talked to Kevin Roberts about that,” White said. “We’ve been having regular conversations with Cricket Australia looking at all different kinds of opportunities.

“A Tasman bubble would be terrific if it did eventuate … it would present some opportunities going forward. But I think the key is to keep an open mind and be flexible so if opportunities do arise we can take them.

“We haven’t talked specifics really. What we have talked about is conceptually the possibility of playing each other and that’s where we are at the moment.”

While they’re working closely on scheduling, the two organisations have reacted differently to the global crisis.

There is uncertainty over the Kiwis’ home international summer – Pakistan and West Indies are due there for Tests and Sri Lanka in the shorter form – but NZC wants to make sure its domestic and pathway programs remain untouched.

“We are slightly fortunate in that we are kind of small but we will be impacted as well, no doubt about that,” White said.

“What we will do, though, is play the full season of domestic first-class cricket, men’s and women’s. We’re committed to that and it’s very important that we do that. We’ve also committed the same level of financial support to the community game as we did this year.

“If there is any cost cutting to go ahead, we’ll probably be doing that at head office.”

Meanwhile, the boards of NSW and Queensland were meeting separately on Tuesday night as they continue to hold out against CA’s push for them to accept 25 per cent cuts under bilateral agreements with the governing body. Both states believe CA has been alarmist in forecasting a bleak financial outlook for the game and standing down most of its staff on 20 per cent pay.

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While the other states have signed on, it emerged on Tuesday that WA had done so “subject to all states agreeing”.

WACA chairman Terry Waldron said he thought what CA had proposed was fair and reasonable but “we just didn’t want to be left out on our own”.

“As long as the deals are somewhat similar, then we’re happy,” he said.

Elsewhere, there is confusion about the delayed confirmation of state, BBL and WBBL contracts for next season. The national contract lists were announced on April 30 but a contracting embargo has remained in place for states and franchises, with players allowed to sign only non-binding agreements.

“I think it’s probably frustrating for some of the state guys in particular,” said Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who is set to return to NSW from South Australia.

“I was named in the Cricket Australia contract list, so for someone like me it’s not too bad. I’ve got it easy compared to some of the guys who are trying to get long-term deals with states and things like that.”

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