Having already faced the brunt of Australian heat in the Perth Test with temperatures of around 40 degrees, the touring New Zealand side decided to cancel first day’s play against Victoria XI ahead of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
The two-day tour game, which was supposed to be played on Friday and Sunday with a break on Saturday has now been reduced to a one-day affair with the teams having already agreed to let New Zealand bat first on Sunday in Scotch College.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast that temperatures may hit upto 43 degrees in Melbourne on Friday before it drops off to much milder levels of around 25 degrees on Saturday.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead said the decision to call off play was with the players’ safety in 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.
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“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.
New Zealand opener Tom Latham likened the prevalent Australian weather conditions to standing under a heat-pump. “The boys are trying to keep cool today in the hotel and try to get some recovery in,” he said in a video posted on New Zealand Cricket’s official Twitter handle.
Stead also admitted that the weather conditions in Perth had taken a toll on his players, especially when coupled with the fact that they had to then make the long journey from the city, on Australia’s western coast, to the eastern coast.
“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.”
After suffering a heavy defeat in the Perth Test, New Zealand will be keen to hit back in Melbourne in a bid to keep the series alive going into the New Year’s Test in Sydney.