New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White at a press conference

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to cancel the women"s tour of Sri Lanka later this month, while the men"s tour of the Caribbean in June-July looks "most unlikely." There is also a shadow over their tours to Netherlands, Scotland and Ireland this summer.

"Clearly, this situation is extremely disappointing for everyone involved in sport," said David White, NZC"s chief executive. "Given the bigger picture, and the terrible toll COVID-19 is taking worldwide, we need to look after not only our own people but the greater community good.

"Cricket in New Zealand has been fortunate in that we were very much at the end of our home summer programme when this crisis struck."

There are also obvious question marks over New Zealand men"s tour of Bangladesh and their "A" tour of India in August, but White feels it"s too early to categorically rule them out at this stage.

In measures being taken to prevent a cutdown of their workforce and to ensure there are no pay cuts, NZC was also applying for the government wage subsidy scheme. This helps support employers adversely affected by the pandemic so that they could continue paying their staff during the lockdown.

"With the lockdown now in full force, we"re mindful of the difficulties facing our cricket community," he said. "Our current focus is very much on ensuring the future sustainability of cricket in New Zealand."

NZC to adopt four-day working week

Additionally, NZC staff and management have agreed to exhaust their leave entitlements over the remainder of the financial year ending July 31 by switching to a four-day working week.

"We take our duty of care as an employer seriously and, at this juncture, want to avoid any changes to our employee headcount or remuneration levels," White said. "However, we"ll continue to closely monitor the effects on the wider cricket family."

NZC plans to be work closely with the stakeholders over the next few months to explore various feasible scenarios for the upcoming season. White said: "Although the future is uncertain, we"re determined to be well-prepared for whatever opportunities arise."

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