Australia and New Zealand were scheduled to play three ODIs on January 30 and February 2 and 5, followed by a one-off T20I on February 8 in Australia. This is the third summer in a row that the series has been postponed.
The development followed after the New Zealand government decided to impose a hard 10-day mandatory quarantine in the wake of the Omicron wave of COVID-19. As a result, Cricket New Zealand could not guarantee that the Kiwi players would be allowed back into the country after the series.
Australia are scheduled to play a three-match T20 series in New Zealand between March 17 and 20. It remains to be seen whether that tour will go ahead.
According to a report in cricket.com.au, Cricket Australia (CA) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) officials had discussed the possibility of rescheduling the matches on Australian soil. However, things couldn’t work out.
New Zealand, Australia officials react after series gets postponed
NZC chief executive David White explained that the advent of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 prompted a change of heart from the NZ Government, resulting in a hard 10-day mandatory isolation period being imposed on all incoming travelers. White stated:
"NZC and CA had explored a proposal to expand the tour and to push out the date on which the squad might return to New Zealand in the hope that might be more achievable for the Government. Unfortunately, we received advice this morning that they could not provide certainty over this."
CA chief executive Nick Hockley asserted that they will keep working with NZC officials to try and reschedule the series. Hockley commented:
"We are extremely disappointed that we won't be able to play the scheduled matches against New Zealand as planned, however we will continue to work with New Zealand Cricket to reschedule the series. We thank NZC, who made every effort to make the series happen, however because they were unable to get certainty over return quarantine arrangements, it is simply just not possible at this time.”
"We know fans will be disappointed and thank them for their understanding given the unique circumstances that the global pandemic presents for everyone. We look forward to welcoming Sri Lanka to Australia next month and will confirm the schedule for that series as soon as possible."
Australia's next assignment will now be a five-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, which is slated to begin in Sydney on February 11.