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    NZ tour on, India face non-stop nine months of cricket

    MS Dhoni

    MS Dhoni's team faces a heavy workload in 2013-14, with successive tours of South Africa and New Zealand followed by the Asia Cup and IPL. (Getty Images)

    New Delhi: The Indian cricket team will have its hands full with non-stop cricket for nearly nine months, starting this December, which hardly leaves them with any time away from the game. After months of uncertainty, the tour to New Zealand next year is back on track, leaving virtually no rest period for MS Dhoni's men.

    CNN-IBN has learnt that after prolonged negotiations between the respective cricket boards ended months of uncertainty with the emergence of a small window of a little over three weeks that allows New Zealand to host India early in 2014.

    Highly informed sources close to the development said that the Indian team will be in New Zealand for 24 days after the conclusion of their tour to South Africa. CNN-IBN understands that New Zealand will host India from January 29 to February 22. The teams will face each other in two Tests, three ODIs and one T20 international, the dates for which will be announced shortly.

    While the tour is expected to boost revenues for the New Zealand cricket board by means of TV rights, the packed itinerary for India is cause for concern keeping in mind player fatigue. India's tour to South Africa stretches from the first week of December 2013 to January 22, 2014 after which the team will travel to New Zealand.

    Next on the itinerary is a flight to Bangladesh for the Asia Cup that starts on February 26, just four days after the completion of the tour to New Zealand. The Asia Cup is expected to conclude on March 9, and is immediately followed by the ICC World Twenty20 which will be held from March 16 to April 6.

    The players return to India, just in time for the seventh season of the IPL that starts right after, and is expected to continue till the final week of May. And the packed calendar will then see the Indian team off on a long tour to England. While Indian cricketers haven't really raised the stink on the amount of cricket they play these days, it remains to be seen how they handle this packed nine-month schedule both physically and mentally.