ZIMBABWE’S first-class cricket competition, the Logan Cup, is set to get underway to. Mountaineers will face Eagles at Harare Sports Club, while Tuskers will betaking on Rhinos at Old Hararians Sports Club in the first round of the four-day competition scheduled for 9-12 December.
Southern Rocks, back in top-flight domestic cricket for the first time since the 2013/14 season, will be on a bye and will only get into action against Tuskers next week at Harare Sports Club.
That next round of fixtures, pencilled in for December 15-18, will also see Rhinos and Eagles tussling it out at Old Hararians in the other match to be played before the Christmas break.
All Logan Cup matches will be played at venues in Harare in a bio-secure bubble set up by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) in an effort to greatly minimise the risk of players and support staff contracting or spreading COVID-19. Up to 100 players and support staffers were this week tested for the coronavirus before they checked in into strictly controlled accommodation facilities in the capital on Tuesday afternoon.
The bio-secure bubble is covering the teams’ accommodation, practice and match venues as well as transport. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced ZC to annul the 2019/20 season with no winner of any of the top competitions being declared, the massively anticipated new season is expected to be a thrilling campaign.
A couple of overseas-based players are set to feature in the first-class competition. Southern Rocks have signed up Shane Snater and Ben Curran who are on the books on English county sides Essex and Northamptonshire respectively.
Leicestershire batsman Nick Welch will turn out for Mountaineers. Oskar Kolk and Brad Evans, who have both been involved in county cricket with Cardiff MCCU, have been included in the Eagles squad together with Tanaka Chivanga who has been doing well on the South Africa club scene.
Apart from the drafting in of the foreign-based talent, the 2020/21 domestic cricket season has also seen a movement of players between the provincial teams.
Zimbabwe internationals Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza, Tendai Chisoro, Richmond Mutumbami, Brian Mudzinganyama and Cephas Zhuwao will form the nucleus of the Southern Rocks side alongside former Mountaineers players Roy Kaia, Innocent Kaia and William Mashinge.
PJ Moor has left Rhinos for Tuskers, with Chris Mpofu and Charles Kunjemoving in the other direction. Brendan Taylor, who was with the Alistair Campbell High Performance Centre team last season, is now back in the Rhinos colours.
All teams have also included in their squads former national Under-19 players, with the most recent captain Dion Myers (Mountaineers), Gareth Chirawu (Eagles), Tadiwanashe Nyangani (Eagles), Tadiwanashe Marumani (Southern Rocks), Privilege Chesa (Southern Rocks) and Nkosilathi Nungu (Southern Rocks) all set to make their first-class bow.
Players who were outstanding in the recent National Premier League campaign have also been rewarded, with Adre Odendaal and Gabriel Jaya of Great Zimbabwe Patriots getting a chance to prove themselves at ahigher level with Southern Rocks, while Gladiators bowler Malcolm Chikuwa has earned himself a spot in the Eagles squad. — ZC