THE Zimbabwe women’s cricket squad will get their first international exposure when they take on three countries for the women’s ICC World
Cup regional qualifiers to be held in Kenya next month.
On December 9 the ladies will battle it out against Uganda in their first assignment. The next day they face the hosts Kenya. The last match will be against Tanzania on December 11.
The major breakthrough for the ladies came last month when the first women’s cricket squad was announced.
Jimmy Chikange the manager of the squad said it was a big achievement for the ladies to be involved in an international tournament.
“It’s a big achievement for the ladies,” Chikange said. “It will be the first time for them to participate in an international event.”
The matches will be staged on a round-robin basis and the country which tops the mini-league will then advance to second round qualifiers in Sri Lanka next year.
Chikange also said that the ladies had the potential to do well in the sport despite cricket being largely a male sport in the country.
“Even though they are venturing into the unknown, they are eager to achieve something big in the sport,” said Chikange.
South Africa has already qualified for the World Cup by virtue of having hosted the Women’s World Cup last year. Zimbabwe did not send a squad to South Africa because it had not been established a team.
“We did not send the national squad because it was not there by then,” Chikange said. “But we hope the ladies will play well and qualify for the first time.”
The national team players were chosen from the interprovincial tournaments that were held in April in Bulawayo. The players were also involved in a coaching camp in Harare.
As part of their preparations, the ladies’ team has played Mashonaland under 16 boys. In the match, the boys’ side made 200 in 50 over and in reply, the ladies were bowled out for 153.
“The ladies played the Under 16 side and they lost by 47 runs,” said Chikange. “I think for them to lose by that margin against the guys shows that they are capable.”
Captain of the squad, all-rounder, Julia Chibhabha, Sinikiwe Mpofu and Johanna Chanjack who are both frontline bowlers are some of the good cricket players in the squad.
“We have good individual players but the squad is stronger as a team and not individually,” Chikange elaborated.
Chikange also said he would be relinquishing his post after holding it for four years. Joyce Chizano will take over his as the new manager.
“It has been very challenging for me,” said Chikange. “The sport is now being appreciated among women and I think that is an achievement.”