Australia will play the final three T20s against New Zealand in Wellington in empty stadiums after COVID lockdown

The Australian T20 squad discussed boycotting locked-down Auckland for the fourth clash with New Zealand even before it was moved, with the remaining three games now all to be played in Wellington.

On Monday, New Zealand Cricket shifted the fifth and final match of the series, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, from Tauranga to Wellington.

And all three remaining matches will be played behind closed doors due to Auckland’s COVID-19 outbreak after packed houses for the opening two games.

They had already moved Thursday‘s game four to Wellington from Auckland, which is in a second coronavirus lockdown in a month.

Australian spinner Ashton Agar said the players were considering a boycott of the proposed Eden Park match before it was shifted and were resigned to the new reality of playing in empty stadiums.

“They‘ve made sure that they’ve looked after the players’ mental and physical wellbeing and come to the right decision,” he said.

“COVID moves so quickly and we have to move with that.”

But the new situation in New Zealand could also create more issues at the end of the series.

All three remaining #NZvAUS T20s will be played in Wellington.https://t.co/KszLeuT3sK

The Australian squad is due to fly home from Auckland next Monday, and some state governments have designated the city a “red zone”, meaning anyone who has visited is ineligible for a quarantine exemption.

Agar conceded that was a daunting prospect after a long summer of bubbles and players living in hubs.

“It‘s not the ideal situation … no one really likes the thought of quarantine,” he said.

“There‘s a lot of guys who have done up to six weeks of isolation and quarantine, maybe more, and they’ve got more coming up. Cricket doesn’t stop throughout the year and with this situation there seems to be a lot happening.

“We’ve had a briefing, management has kept us up to date. We have to look forward to the games that are coming up, and that’s all we can do at this point in time.

“We have faith in Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket that they have the players’ physical and mental health in their best interest.”

The Aussies lost the first two games in Christchurch and Dunedin last week and need to win all three remaining matches to claim a series victory.

AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND T20 SERIES

Game one – February 22, Christchurch – New Zealand def Australia by 53 runs

Game two – February 25, Dunedin – New Zealand def Australia by 4 runs

Game three – March 3, 7pm (5pm AEDT), Wellington*

Game four – March 5, 7pm (5pm AEDT), Wellington*

Game five – March 7, 4pm (2pm AEDT), Wellington*

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