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India to tour Zimbabwe

by Ricky Zililo
04 May 2016 at 06:59hrs | Views
CRICKET starved fans are in for a treat when powerhouse India tour Zimbabwe for three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 matches next month. However, only Harare-based cricket lovers will get the chance to watch some of the best players in world cricket as all six matches are set for Harare Sports Club, according to a confirmed schedule released by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) yesterday.

Bulawayo-based fans have to travel to Harare or wait for more incoming tours to be confirmed to watch some of the world's top cricketers live in action despite ZC renovating Queens Sports Club last year amid a promise of more international games.

The ODIs will be played on June 11, 13 and 15, while the T20s are set for June 18, 20 and 22. "After finalising all the formalities with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), we're pleased to announce the incoming tour scheduled for this June," said ZC managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa.

This would be India's second visit to Zimbabwe in two years. The last time India toured Zimbabwe was in July 2015 when the visitors won the ODI series 3-0 and the T20 series was tied 1-1. All the matches were played at Harare Sports Club.

After the Indians' departure last year, New Zealand arrived in Harare for three ODIs, which they won 2-1. The Black Caps also beat Zimbabwe by two wickets in the one T20 match the two sides played in August.

Harare Sports Club also hosted Pakistan and Ireland. Pakistan won the ODI series 2-1 and whitewashed the hosts 2-0 in the T20s. Zimbabwe claimed the ODI series 2-1 against Ireland. The last country to tour Zimbabwe was Afghanistan, who played five ODIs and two T20 matches in October in Bulawayo.

Afghanistan won the ODI series 3-2 and shocked the Chevrons 2-0 in the T20 series. Having struggled against minnows Afghanistan in the last home series as well as at the World T20 in India last month where Zimbabwe were knocked out after suffering a 59-run loss in the final game of the preliminary stage, they have to be at their best against the swashbuckling Indians.

India reached the semi-finals of the World T20 and were only stopped in the tracks by some breathtaking batting at the death by eventual winners West Indies' tailenders.

Local cricket enthusiasts will also be hoping that India, who brought a second-string side led by Ajinkya Rahane in their previous visit in 2015, tag along some of their household stars that have lit the popular domestic Indian Premier League.

Last year India rested ODI captain MS Dhoni, Test captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan and Umesh Yadav for their Zimbabwe tour, but they probably will use next month's tour as a platform to rebuild following the World T20 disappointment on home soil.

However, it is ZC who stand to benefit the most as games involving India always earn the host board substantial amounts from TV rights since the Asian giants are huge crowd pullers wherever they go.

India tour schedule
1st ODI 11 June 2016 Harare Sports Club

2nd ODI 13 June 2016 Harare Sports Club

3rd ODI 15 June 2016 Harare Sports Club

1st T20I 18 June 2016 Harare Sports Club

2nd T20I 20 June 2016 Harare Sports Club

3rd T20I 22 June 2016 Harare Sports Club

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Source - chronicle
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