ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) have been forced to redraw their plans after the proposal to host Sri Lanka and West Indies in October flopped. BY KEVIN MAPASURE
The West Indies, who were targeted by ZC to come in and join Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka for the series, released a schedule last week where they will play Pakistan in September and October.
Zimbabwe will play Sri Lanka in a Test series and the idea was that after that there would be a tri-series, plans which have hit a brick wall after West Indies’ snub.
The Caribbean islanders will tour Dubai between September 20 and November 3 where they will play three Twenty-20 internationals, the same number of 50-overs matches and a three-match Test series.
ZC can explore the option of trying to engage another nation, which is unlikely at such short notice and it’s likely that the two nations might be forced to just go on and play a one-day-international series between themselves.
Meanwhile, ZC is frantically trying to organise a home tri-series to be contested by Zim ‘A’, Pakistan ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’.
Before that it is likely that Zim ‘A’ will play Pakistan ‘A’ in two four-day matches, which could be used by the national team players to fine-tune for the Sri Lanka Tests.
ZC communications manager Darlington Majonga yesterday confirmed that they were trying to organise some matches before the Sri Lanka series.
“We are trying to organise as much cricket as possible before the Sri Lanka Test series and having Pakistan ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’ here could happen if the proposal goes well,” he said yesterday.
Zimbabwe will be looking for an improved performance when they take on Sri Lanka in the Tests after their poor show in the two-match Test defeat to New Zealand in Bulawayo last month.
The postmortem of the New Zealand series revealed lack of preparedness for the series with Zimbabwe having gone for almost two years without playing that version of the game prior.
It is likely that Zimbabwe will use the bulk of their Test players in the four-day matches against Pakistan to prime themselves for the Sri Lanka challenge.
ZC is also on the prowl for a new substantive head coach who will fill in the void left by Australian Dave Whatmore, who was sacked in May after a string of poor results.
It is not clear whether the new coach will be in place by the time Zimbabwe play Sri Lanka.
Makhaya Ntini presided over the team in the India series where they played limited-overs as well as the New Zealand home tour.