By Kevin Mapasure
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has sought government clearance for the national men’s team to travel to Ireland for a tour of white ball cricket this month.
The team was supposed to have travelled soon after the Bangladesh tour that ended last week, but the trip was postponed after complications arose over COVID-19 protocols.
The respective boards have come up with new dates for the tour which will see the two teams contest three One Day Internationals (ODI) in the Super League as well as the same number of T-20s.
ZC managing director Givemore Makoni confirmed the plans, but said everything will depend on the government clearance.
“We have applied to the Sports and Recreation Commission for permission to travel but we have set August 19 as the departure date,” he said.
“Everything will be announced once we get clearance from the SRC.”
Sport is currently banned in Zimbabwe which is under level four lockdown and associations have to apply for special waivers to practise or play matches.
The Zimbabwe national cricket team will be desperate for the tour, which gives them an opportunity to confound their multitudes of critics after they recently fell flat against Bangladesh on home soil, losing the lone Test match, the three ODIs that carried points towards World Cup qualification, as well as the T-20 series where they were defeated 2-1.
The results followed whitewash defeats in the ODI and Test series against Pakistan earlier, also at home.
This has seen Zimbabwe’s chances of an automatic qualification to the World Cup dwindle.
Zimbabwe only have a single win from nine matches in the Super League which is being used by the ICC as the main route to the Word Cup finals in India in 2023.
Only the top seven in the 13-team league will join the hosts as automatic qualifiers while two slots are reserved for teams that will converge in Zimbabwe next year for route two of the qualifiers.
The five teams that fail to get automatic places from the Super League will join teams in the League Two.
ZC has been under fire from the fans following the poor results.
Since coach Lalchand Rajput was employed by ZC, he has presided over 30 ODIs and oversaw just four wins, all of which came against minnows United Arab Emirates.
Zimbabwe won a single ODI against Pakistan late last year but he was absent from that tour.
He has overseen one whitewash defeat after another, yet ZC have absolved him of any blame and will stick with him, at least for now.
NewsDaySport understands that his assistants Stewart Matsikenyeri (batting coach) and Douglas Hondo (bowling) have attracted scrutiny from ZC and have their jobs on the line.
They will likely see the return of senior players Craig Ervine and Sean Williams who both missed the Bangladesh series due to COVID-19 infection.
The two have since recovered and will return to boost the batting line-up.
Follow Kevin on Twitter@kevinmapasure