Shield game in New Zealand for first time

Nov 30, -0001

SYDNEY: A domestic Sheffield Shield match will be played outside Australia for the first time when New South Wales face Western Australia in New Zealand next year, Cricket Australia said on Thursday.

The four-day Shield competition has been running since 1892-93 and there has never been a fixture outside the country.

CA said it would take the unprecedented step to help the Australia Test side prepare for a series in New Zealand in the early part of 2016 with the South Island town of Lincoln hosting NSW versus Western Australia, starting on February 3.

CA shifted the fixture overseas instead of scheduling a tour game prior to the two-Test series in New Zealand, from February 12 with most Australian Test players not involved in the one-day series against the Black Caps likely to feature in the Shield game.

"If we were to schedule a warm-up game, it would have to happen in parallel with the Chappell-Hadlee (series)... and Sheffield Shield," high-performance manager Pat Howard said.

"That would obviously have a negative impact on the Shield because we'd have to pull extra players out of that competition.

"Therefore we thought bringing a Shield match, involving a number of international players, to New Zealand was a different option that gives us some strong preparation in local conditions." (AFP)

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