England's 2015 summer fixtures have been announced and it will be the visiting New
Zealanders who will be the first to test Peter Moores' England team in a packed International summer of cricket which will no doubt have cricket enthusiasts
Starting on the 21st May the two sides will do battle in back-to-back Test matches. The
first Test will take place on the hallowed turf of Lords and will be closely followed by the second Test at Headingley from the 29th May to 2nd June.
Many will look at the New Zealand fixtures as a warm-up to the main event later in the summer - The Ashes - but this is certainly not the case. Whilst the Kiwis are not afforded the luxury of five Test matches they are certainly not a team that should be taken lightly and I have no doubt that England will prepare for them just as well as they do for any other opposition.
Certainly the England players who are selected for the games against New Zealand will feel as though they have to perform in order to be part of The Ashes later in the summer, so the pressure will be as great as ever. Nobody will take the Kiwis lightly as England will want to build up a winning habit during the early part of the summer. It has been clear from previous summers that a winning mentality can help when the going gets tough. Likewise, a losing habit can also have the opposite affect, as seen this winter.
Prior to the New Zealand series both sides will be participating in the World Cup in early 2015 so may approach the five scheduled ODI games that follow the Tests, from 9th June to 20th June, in a different light, depending on their progress during the tournament. Whilst England will head into the Test series as favourites, particularly at home in an early English cricketing summer, the Kiwis are a very good one-day outfit and will certainly fancy their chances against England. Could England or New Zealand be the new World Champions in the fifty over format by next summer?
New Zealand's International tour will end with a one-off Twenty20 game against England on the 23rd June at Old Trafford.
As ever the ECB have tried to spread the games, and therefore revenue, across the counties throughout the summer. With the rise of the newer Test match grounds competition is as fierce as ever so all the grounds will be happy to be selected whoever the opposition, or whatever the format of the game, may be.
England have found to their cost in the last few months that cricketing fortunes can change very quickly so who knows what position both sides will be in when they come face to face next summer. Could England be the new World number one Test side again? Will Peter Moores and Alistair Cook still be in charge of team affairs? There is a lot of cricket still to be played between now and then.
2015 New Zealand tour International dates
Investec Test Series
Thu 21 – Mon 25 May 1st Test - Lord’s
Fri 29 May – Tue 2 June 2nd Test -
Royal London ODI Series
Tue 9 June - 1st ODI (D/N) - Edgbaston
Fri 12 June - 2nd ODI (D/N) - Kia Oval
Sun 14 June - 3rd ODI - Ageas Bowl
Wed 17 June - 4th ODI (D/N) - Trent Bridge
Sat 20 June- 5th ODI - Emirates Durham ICG
Tue 23 June (Floodlit) - Emirates Old Trafford
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