Zim to host Sri Lanka for two Tests

Zimbabwe will host their first Test in over two years when they play Sri Lanka in a two-match series starting January 19.

This will also be their first assignment since the International Cricket Council (ICC) reinstated their membership following a three-month suspension last July.

Sean Williams will lead the new squad that will be picked based on performances in the Logan Cup, Zimbabwe’s first-class competition that is currently underway, and assemble together today to start training.

“For us, it’s a new beginning, a new chapter,” head coach Lalchand Rajput said.

“And it’s good that we are starting off with the long version which always brings the best out of players.”

Although Zimbabwe continued to play through the time they were penalised by the ICC, they haven’t gone through the rigours of a Test match since November 2018, when they went to Bangladesh and secured their first win away from home in 18 years.

Given that, Rajput put a premium on his players’ form in domestic cricket and hoped they would hit the ground running against Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lanka are always a very competitive team who have been playing well and I am looking forward to the Test series.”

“It’s important to have players performing well in first-class cricket,” he said.

“And I am happy that in the Logan Cup we have players who have scored centuries and taken five wickets and more. This bodes well for our preparations and it’s always good to have players who are match-fit and in good nick.

“During our 10-day camp, we will attend to a few issues, including the processes, as we fine-tune our team ahead of the series.”

The Harare Sports Club will host both matches, the second one starting on January 27.

“We know our home conditions better, our players are getting match-fit and enjoying some game time. So all we have to do is to get in the middle and perform,” Rajput said.

“We have not had much game time, so the players will be very keen and eager to seize this opportunity and do well.”

Zimbabwe have confirmed that all-rounder Sean Williams will be their new test captain following the retirement of Hamilton Masakadza, who has since moved into the role of director of
cricket.

Former Zimbabwe international David Mutendera has been named as the new convener of selectors, joining Gavin Ewing, Shepherd Makunura and Prosper Utseya on the panel.
— ESPNcricinfo/Reuters

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