New Zealand’s three-match Twenty20 international cricket series next month against world champion Australia has been cancelled because of COVID-19 border regulations.

Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets in the final of the T20 World Cup last November and the rivals were expected to play in Napier from March 17-20, in anticipation of a planned relaxation of border protocols.

But the arrival of the omicron variant in New Zealand has put back the re-opening of the international border and the series cannot take place because the Australian men’s team does not have places reserved in managed isolation.

“At the time we

scheduled the visit there was a lot of hope that the trans-Tasman border would be open for those who met the right criteria,” New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said in a statement Wednesday.

“However, the advent of omicron has, unfortunately, changed everything at the border and has made it impossible for us to continue with the series.

“It’s disappointing but we know it’s the same for businesses and individuals and other sports and we’re grateful for the international schedule we have.” Australia, coming off a 4-0 win over England in the five-test Ashes series, is due to host Sri Lanka in a five-match T20 series starting Friday.
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