2 Apr 2020

How cricket has fared as Covid-19 calls time on other sports

6:32 pm on 2 April 2020

Sports Call - New Zealand Cricket is no doubt counting itself lucky, having seemingly evaded the lethal bouncer Covid-19 has delivered many other sports.

Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson Photo: Photosport

While rugby, league, netball and many other sporting codes impose pay cuts to keep themselves afloat - Covid 19 has left cricket, domestically at least, relatively unscathed and could even in fact leave it better off financially.

The Black Caps are scheduled to play away against Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands in T20 matches in June and then tour the West Indies the following month while the White Ferns are due to tour Sri Lanka over winter.

Those tours won't be happening, you can be sure - and that in itself is likely to save New Zealand Cricket in the vicinity of $1 million in touring costs.

The IPL in India is still officially on - due to start the day after India comes out of lockdown - but the prospect of that competition going ahead is negligible with suggestions out of India it will simply be delayed a year.

That does leave the six New Zealanders involved - Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Jimmy Neesham, Lockie Ferguson, Mitchell Santner, and Mitch McClenaghan out of pocket -but doesn't impact New Zealand Cricket's balance sheet.

The men's T20 World Cup scheduled for August may be a victim but the ICC, and therefore its members, do have money in the bank following last year's one day World Cup in the UK - and that's the big money earner for cricket.

At this stage New Zealand cricket is one of the few sports not to have announced pay cuts for players and staff and they should be okay for the short term future.

NZ Cricket in the box seat?

Longer term - with rugby, netball, football and league appearing to face no season at all - it could be summer before we see the re-emergence of any sport at all.

And that again could leave New Zealand Cricket in the box seat.

In a world starved of professional sport - discounting of course the Belarus football competition where apparently vodka and saunas are staving off the virus - New Zealand could have its domestic season up and running before anyone else.

The T20 Super Smash competition featuring Black Cap players could be an attractive option for sports broadcasters internationally, given there maybe little else on the menu.

Perhaps invite an Australian side over. Put them in isolation for two weeks prior and plenty of testing to confirm they are good to go and New Zealand Cricket could be onto a winner.

Of course that could require some kind of government exemption to be able to happen, but sport will have a crucial role in helping lives return to normal.

Take that a step further. What about hosting neutral T20, one day or test match series?

That does seem a long way off given international travel will be one of the last things to return to normal but New Zealand's isolation could yet prove a winner - for some at least.