Zim in gruelling first-class action


Enock Muchinjo

AFTER seven years, Zimbabwe have regained admission to South Africa’s first-class Bowls competition.



erif”>A 15-member Zimbabwe Board XI side leaves the country for South Africa on the October 18 to take part in the first round of one of the toughest domestic competitions in South Africa.


The Zimbabweans are drawn in Pool B with the B teams of South African regional sides Boland, Eastern Province, Western Province, Border and KwaZulu-Natal. Pool A has Easterns, Gauteng, Northerns, Free State, Griqualand West and North West.


The teams play five three-day games and five one-day games in the first round. They then meet again in February next year in the second round, with the top two teams in each group qualifying to the semi-finals and ultimately the final of the limited-overs match. The three-day match culminates in a straight final.


Zimbabwe’s re-entry to the Bowls competition will be just after the tour to Zimbabwe by Kenya that starts at the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy on Wednesday, and coincides with the Zimbabwe President’s XI tour to India to play in that country’s premier first-class competition, the Duleep Trophy. The President’s XI side is scheduled to depart for the sub-continent on October 31.


Since Zimbabwe will have 29 players touring with two first-class sides at the same time, what will happen is that both the Board XI and President’s XI sides will play Kenya separately before embarking on their respective tours.

So the Board XI, a second-string Zimbabwe side, play Kenya in the first three-day game starting on Tuesday before departing for South Africa on October 18.


Then the President’s XI, basically Zimbabwe’s full-strength side, play the Kenyans in the final three-day game starting on October 17, and then the one-day game on October 20.


“Performances in the last two months have not been satisfying but we honestly believe we have a pool of 30 good first-class players in Zimbabwe,” said convener of selectors, Macsood Ebrahim.


In the Duleep Trophy, the President’s X1 play two four-day matches against two Indian sides in their group. The winners make the final.


“These first-class games give our guys a lot of exposure,” Ebrahim said. “We are trying to make sure that the players get about 16 to 22 matches a season in addition to our own Logan Cup.”


The national Under-19 side also leaves for India to play in the Afro-Asia Under-19 tournament. Thus six Under-19 players have been excused from Board XI and President’s XI selection as they will also have to go through an Under-19 trials tournament to choose the Zimbabwe squad for the International Cricket Council Under-19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka early next year.


The six are Graeme Cremer, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Sean Williams, Ian Nicholson, Tafadzwa Mufambisi and Kudakwashe Samunderu.

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