NZ Cricket has lined up two blockbuster away test series for the Blackcaps later this year.
Speaking to Stuff, NZC chief executive David White has outlined the schedule for the rest of 2021, which includes away series against England and India, after hosting Australia and Bangladesh in February and March.
Details are reportedly being finalised to play world No.4 England in two tests in June and with the Blackcaps still in the hunt for the test championship final at Lords' in June, this series could provide the ideal warm-up.
New Zealand will then play away series against Bangladesh (Twenty20) and Pakistan (T20 and one-day), before the T20 World Cup in India in October/November.
Kane Williamson's men will then have the opportunity to prove themselves as the world's No.1 test side, when they play two tests against India, who have gone 14 tests unbeaten at home and present a stern test of their credentials.
The Blackcaps have been on fire in the longest form of the game, extending their unbeaten run at home to 17 matches and moving to No.1 in the world for the first time.
With COVID-19 making travelling difficult, White says countries must work together in these tough times.
"We’re doing that to assist England," White tells Stuff. "They’ve had a challenging time and we’re more than happy to do that.
"Member countries helping each other is very important, and I’ve got to say a big thanks to the West Indies and Pakistan for coming here and supporting us.
"It is challenging to go through quarantine and we're very appreciative of that."
A location for the Pakistan series has yet to be confirmed and White won't rule out a return to the country for the first time since 2003.
"It has not been finalised, but is certainly on the table," White says.
The demanding schedule could see players on the road for up to nine months.
"It’s something we’re very conscious of," White says. "We’re starting that planning next week, with our high performance team and [coach] Gary Stead and [manager] Mike Sandle looking at managing the workload of the players, but also their time away from home and what’s reasonable.
"We’ll be sensible with our approach, and player welfare from a physical and mental point of view is critical."
Next home summer will feature a visit by South Africa for two tests and limited-over matches. The Proteas haven't visited New Zealand since 2017, when they swept the Blackcaps in tests, one-dayers and T20s.
Bangladesh who will also visit for two test matches and limited-over matches.