BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Domestic cricket is set to resume on January 4 with the T-20 tournament featuring the provincial sides as national men’s team players fine tune for series against Afghanistan.
Zimbabwe’s first matches in 2021 come against Afghanistan and while the Future Tours Programme (FTP) lists the tour to take place in February and March, it is understood the trip has been brought forward to the end of next month.
The tour was originally supposed to take place in India but due to the coronavirus situation in that country, the respective boards are considering Abu Dhabi or even Zimbabwe as possible options.
The two nations will square off in Test cricket for the first time with Afghanistan having recently attained Test status.
The tour will mark a return to international cricket for Zimbabwe since their tour to Pakistan between October and November where they played a three match One Day International series and as many T-20 matches.
Following a relatively quiet 2020, Zimbabwe is expecting a congested calendar in 2021 where according to the FTP, they will tour Afghanistan (two Tests, three T-20s), host Pakistan (two Tests and three T-20s), host Bangladesh (two Tests, three ODIs and three T-20s), travel to Ireland (one Test, three ODIs and five T-20s) and they will wrap up the year by hosting Afghanistan (one Test, three ODIs and two T-20s).
Zimbabwe Cricket is pushing to host India this year while they are also expected to play Netherlands sometime during the year so much that the calendar may see some changes from what the FTP suggests.
They were supposed to have hosted India this year but the tour was cancelled due to the coronavirus-induced lockdowns across the world.
Their tour to Australia was also called off while Ireland’s visit to Zimbabwe also could not take place.
The domestic season kick started with the premier competition, the Logan Cup, where two rounds of matches were played before the players and officials took a break for the Christmas holiday.
They will return into the bio bubble soon after the New Year holiday to commence the T-20 provincial competition with the T-20 tournament, which will be used by the national selectors to pick the squad that will play Afghanistan), set to run between January 4 and 11.
Logan Cup then returns on January 15.
The T-20 competition is set to be a big one with some foreign nationals sprinkled in different provincial sides likely to give it a different taste.
COVID-19 restrictions limit fans to 60 at the matches and having been starved of sporting action, fans are likely to jostle for the few seats available.
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