Zim emerging side set for historic UK tour

23 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Zim emerging side  set for historic UK tour

The Sunday Mail

Don Makanyanga

A NEW era in the sporting relations between Zimbabwe and England is beckoning as Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) are preparing to send teams to play in the European country for the first time in 20 years.

An emerging side will embark on a lengthy tour of England next month before the Chevrons senior team make their own trip next year to engage the hosts in a once-off Test.

This is a massive turn of events as England had not hosted Zimbabwe since 2003.  They last played the Chevrons in 2004.  Previously, ZC and the English Cricket Board (ECB) enjoyed a cordial relationship, which only turned sour at the turn of the millennium.

And after two decades, the good news is that the Zimbabwe Emerging side is set to tour the United Kingdom for 60 days to pave the way for the Chevrons senior team, who are scheduled to play the England national team in a one-off Test next year.

This shows the Government’s re-engagement efforts are bearing fruit. What is emerging is restoration of a healthy relationship between the two countries’ cricket boards.

ZC general manager Dirk Viljoen described the upcoming tour of the UK by the Zimbabwe Emerging side as the rekindling of cordial relations between the two countries.

“It’s massive; the fact that England have agreed to play us in a Test match,” said Viljoen.

As ZC prepares for this milestone visit, Viljoen revealed that they have received a warm reception from the ECB. You know, the reality is that this year we will send an emerging side to England to play against the county second teams,” he said.

“England has been great in welcoming us and giving us fixtures.”

Zimbabwe are expected to play a number of counties during the two-month stay in the UK, with their first fixture scheduled a day after they arrive on July 15.

“The team fly out in July and a day after they land, they’re playing against Kent, they’re playing Glamorgan, they’re playing Warwickshire, they’re playing Middlesex. There are some great opportunities there,” he said.

Following a visit by county sides Derbyshire, Glamorgan and Durham in recent times, Viljoen is happy with the relations that have been built between ZC on one hand and the county sides and the ECB on the other.

“If you have a look at where the system has gone, you know, a couple of years back, we had some counties that came here,” he said.

“Durham have been consistent and used Zimbabwe as their pre-season home.

“I have no doubt that that has played a huge part in Durham going back and being able to be honest with English cricket and say, guys, you know what, there’s this little gem in Africa called Zimbabwe that has great facilities, great weather, great people to go and do your pre-season.

“And I have no doubt that that has played a part in other teams now asking, you know, ‘Can we come?’

“We have a game against the MCC, the oldest association in world cricket, which have now also come and said, ‘Guys, can we tour Zimbabwe?’

“So, we are opening up the world of cricket by saying, ‘You know what, Zimbabwe is a place, a destination, which you should go to.’

“The exciting part of Zimbabwean cricket, maybe is the new stadium in Victoria Falls. I mean, could you imagine a pre-season tour in Victoria Falls? It’s exciting times.”

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