New Zealand have cancelled the opening day of their scheduled two-day tour match against Victoria XI in Melbourne on Friday due to extreme heat that is forecast.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting temperatures of 43C in Melbourne on Friday combined with hot north-westerly winds. New Zealand’s first Test against Australia was played in 40-degree temperatures each day in Perth and now, the visitors have opted to cancel the first day’s play against Victoria.
New Zealand did not play a warm-up game prior to the first Test and this was their only practice match outside of the three Tests on the tour.
The game was scheduled to be a two-day red-ball match played on Friday and Sunday with a day’s break in between. They will instead train on Saturday morning at the MCG when temperatures are expected to be a far milder 23C before playing at Scotch College in a single day game on Sunday when the temperature is forecast to be 21C, where it has already been agreed that New Zealand will bat first.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead said it was a common-sense outcome with player safety at the forefront of their mind.
“(We’ve) decided to cancel tomorrow’s game just purely for player welfare and looking after the players,” Stead said. “If it’s going to be that hot then I’m not sure we’re going to get too much out of it and there’s just the danger element as well.”
New Zealand’s bowlers will get a work out on Saturday morning in the MCG nets.
“The guys can bowl the overs then that they would have bowled on Friday and we’ll still play the game on Sunday which will be a batting day for us,” Stead said.
“It’s hard to underestimate the effect that Perth had on us as well. We were in 40-degree temperatures every day. The travel back from Perth to Melbourne is pretty gruelling as well and guys are still struggling a little bit to get their sleep patterns right. Having the extra day shouldn’t do any harm for us at all. “
New Zealand trained in warm conditions in Melbourne on Wednesday and fast bowler Trent Boult got through the session unscathed and looks likely to line-up on Boxing Day after missing the Perth Test with an intercostal injury.
“Trent bowled really well,” Stead said. “He looked somewhere near back to his best. He’s certainly on track to be available for the MCG Test.”