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West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka to tour Zimbabwe

by Ricky Zililo
05 May 2016 at 11:44hrs | Views

BULAWAYO cricket enthusiasts longing for top-notch international cricket should keep their fingers crossed that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) brings one series to Queens Sports Club before the end of this year. ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani yesterday revealed that New Zealand, Sri Lanka and ICC World Twenty20 champions West Indies will be coming to Zimbabwe after the India tour.

India, who are ranked second in ICC Test rankings, will be in Zimbabwe next month for three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three T20 matches. The ODIs will be played on June 11, 13 and 15, while the T20s are set for June 18, 20 and 22.

Mukuhlani said New Zealand would be coming in July, while Sri Lanka arrives in October and the West Indies in November. However, chances are that all the games would be played in Harare as Mukuhlani could not commit himself to which country Bulawayo would host.

"The issue of where the games are going to be played is a question of resources. One series will be played in Bulawayo and the cricket operations department will advise you in due course as to which nation will be coming to Queens Sports Club," said Mukuhlani.

Judging by Mukuhlani's non-committal response, ZC may decide to have most matches played in Harare to maximise on profits and bring one or two games to Queens Sports Club. Most international flights touch down in Harare and ZC carries the burden of moving the visitors to Bulawayo, a cost that they seem keen on avoiding.

Last year ZC refurbished Queens Sports Club bracing up for a dramatic upturn of international games, which they claimed were going to be shared between Harare and Bulawayo.

India, New Zealand, Pakistan and Ireland all played in Harare last year, while Bulawayo only had Afghanistan, who played five ODIs and two T20 matches in October. Afghanistan won the ODI series 3-2 and shocked the Chevrons 2-0 in the T20 series.

India was here in July where they won the ODI series 3-0 and drew 1-1 in the T20 series. New Zealand arrived after India's departure and played three ODIs, which they won 2-1. The Black Caps also beat Zimbabwe by two wickets in the only T20 match the two countries played in August.

Harare Sports Club also played host to Pakistan and Ireland with the former winning the ODI series 2-1 and the T20 2-0. Ireland lost the ODIs 2-1, with Zimbabwe winning the first game by two wickets, and their second match by five wickets. The Irish won the last game of the series by two wickets.

Queens Sports Club is yet to realise the benefits of refurbishing the dressing rooms and risks becoming a white elephant, as all action seems to be destined for Harare.

"Queens won't be a white elephant. In fact, we would love to have most of our games there because our international matches are played in the subcontinent, whose pitch conditions are similar to those of Queens. However, note that the question of resources determines the choice of venue," Mukuhlani said.

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Source - chronicle
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