Black Caps face monsoon in Sri Lanka again

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 05:00 11/11/2012
Sri Lanka cricket covers
Reuters
I CAN'T STAND THE RAIN: Grounds crew at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy drag out the covers as rain interrupts New Zealand's Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka.

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New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is planning talks with the Sri Lankan Cricket Board to avoid a repeat next year of this month's rain-affected tour.

The Black Caps are due to complete a four-match series, featuring three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international, in Sri Lanka next November.

However, next year's tourists would likely face the same frustrations those of 2012 have experienced, that is: constant rain delays and stoppages.

Although the monsoon hits northern and southern Sri Lanka in separate seasons during the year, the nation is currently in the middle of an "inter-monsoonal" period, which exposes the entire country to heavy rain throughout November.

Weather has forced the abandonment of two matches in the current tour - the only Twenty20 International, in Pallekelle on October 30, and the first one-day international on November 1, scheduled to be played at the same venue.

The second and third one-dayers were originally due to be played in Colombo, but were moved to the southern city due to the Sri Lankan capital experiencing three weeks of constant rain.

And although those matches were played, the results were significantly affected by the weather, and the hosts claimed victory in both.

NZC chief executive David White told the Sunday Star-Times that although this tour has been incredibly frustrating for the Black Caps, the organisation is already looking ahead to 2013.

"The bigger challenge we face is we've got another tour there next year at the same time, so that's something we need to chat to Sri Lanka about because it's certainly not ideal," he said.

"We'll be discussing with them options for next year. It's very frustrating for everyone concerned."

International tours are planned years in advance, through the mutual agreement of the host and visiting nations.

"This one was agreed before I came [to New Zealand Cricket], so we've got what we've got," White said.

"After just having the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, it's frustrating for the Black Caps, playing, and then not being able to play."

The previous side to tour Sri Lanka in November faced similar issues. A three-test series against the West Indies in 2010 was washed out with three rain-affected draws, and a three-match ODI series between the sides had to be moved to January and February the following year.

The fourth game of New Zealand's series, to be played in Hambantota overnight, looked set to be affected by the rain when the Sunday Star-Times went to print last night.

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The Black Caps and Sri Lanka will play a two-test match series, in Galle and Colombo. The first is due to start next Saturday.

- Sunday Star Times

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