WELLINGTON, July 25 (Reuters) -
Australia's cricket tour of New Zealand next year has been cut short in order for players to play at least some part in the lucrative Indian Twenty20 league, according to a local media report on Saturday.
The Australians were scheduled to tour New Zealand from late February to early April but the tour would now finish by March 31, the Dominion Post newspaper reported.
The tour will include just two tests instead of the three traditionally played at that time of year.
The early finish would allow players to play the final three weeks of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), before the Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies starts on April 30, the newspaper said citing unnamed New Zealand Cricket sources.
The IPL pushed back its own start date to allow the competition to run from March 12-April 25 and ensure it was completed before the Twenty20 World Cup began.
Six senior New Zealand players, all of whom have IPL contracts, only signed their national contracts on Friday after “scheduling conflicts” between the IPL and New Zealand's programme had been clarified, NZC said. IPL player payments are made on a pro-rata basis, reducing the money paid to players when they miss parts of the tournament.
New Zealand are to host Pakistan for three tests later this year before Bangladesh tour next February.
Australia arrive in New Zealand in late February after West Indies' conclude the limited overs portion of their tour in Sydney on Feb. 23.