BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) have lined up a busy home schedule for the national men’s team to ensure they have adequate preparations ahead for the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup Global Qualifier Group B to be held in Harare in the in July.
The hectic international schedule is set to get underway next month for a limited overs tour which will include five T20s and three 50-over matches against South Africa A.
After the South Africa A tour, Zimbabwe will host their improving southern African neighbours Namibia for five T20 Internationals.
Afghanistan are also set to arrive in June for five T20 Internationals and three ODIs in a rescheduled tour which was initially scheduled to take place in February.
The ODI series against the Afghans will form part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League.
ZC director of cricket Hamilton Masakadza said the schedule was meant to ensure the team gets adequate preparations for the T20 World Cup qualifiers.
The former Zimbabwean batsman also revealed that a number of national team players would be part of the Zimbabwe A squad which will play against their South African counterparts.
“As this is all part of our plan to ensure that the guys get to play a minimum of 15 T20 games as part of the preparations for the T20 World Cup qualifiers. We are going to use as many of our national team guys in the matches against South Africa A as we can, so it won’t be a full A side but it will definitely have some of the main side players,” Masakadza said in interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday.
The busy upcoming international season comes on the back of another packed domestic season for local players. After the conclusion of the on-going Domestic T20 competition on Saturday, local players will then turn their attention to the National Premier League (NPL) an elite national club competition launched two years ago.
Masakadza also announced plans to host some T20 regional games between Northerns and Southerns to give local players more exposure in the game’s shortest format ahead of the T20 World Cup qualifier.
Zimbabwe will host Group B of the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup Global Qualifier which will be played from July 8-18 July. The hosts will battle against Hong Kong, Jersey, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Uganda as well as the United States of America for the two spots on offer.
Group A is made up of Bahrain, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Nepal, Oman, Philippines and United Arab Emirates, with the matches to take place in Oman.
Four teams from the two global qualifiers will join hosts Australia and the 11 automatic qualifiers from the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 to make up the 16-team Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
Zimbabwe were left out of the last T20 World Cup Qualifier held in the UAE after the country was suspended by the ICC.
This came after the Sports and Recreation Commission suspended the elected ZC board. Zimbabwe were replaced by Nigeria who had finished third in the Africa Men’s Qualifier.
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