THE Zimbabwe cricket team will participate in an ODI tri-nations tournament in Kenya next month involving the hosts and Ireland, while Sri Lanka Cricket have agreed to include a four-day game on their Zimbabwe tour programme in November.
The Zimbabweans will arrive in Kenya on October 14 for the series against the two ICC associate members. The sides will play each other twice in a league format, with the top two sides clashing in the final on October 25. All matches will be played in the capital Nairobi.
Zimbabwe and Ireland will be meeting for the first time after playing out an unusual but entertaining draw at the World Cup in the West Indies last year.
Meanwhile the Sri Lankans, who were originally scheduled to play five ODIs in Harare and Bulawayo, will now kick-start the tour with the first-class fixture, likely to be in Harare, from November 13 to 16. They will also play a one-day warm up match before the official ODIs.
Zimbabwe Cricket has been using the four-day matches against sides from Test-playing countries as part of preparations for a return to Test cricket.
“Its just part of the plan to play as much cricket as we can,” Trevor Mutangadura, the ZC Cricket Affairs general manager told IndependentSport.
“It is part of our plan to return to Test cricket. Whenever we get an opportunity to play four-day cricket against quality opposition we will grab it. This is the only way we can improve. The only way is for the guys to be out in the middle as long as possible, against quality opposition.”
Both teams are expected to use their first-string teams for the four-day unofficial “Test”.
The Zimbabwe senior team last played international cricket in Pakistan in February where they were whitewashed 5-0 in the ODI series.
The Pakistan Cricket Academy is meanwhile winding up its tour to Zimbabwe with three one-day matches. The young Asian tourists won the two four-day games against the Zimbabwe Board XI by 202 runs in the first match and 6 wickets in the second.
October 17: Zimbabwe v Ireland
October 18: Kenya v Ireland
October 19: Kenya v Zimbabwe
October 21: Zimbabwe v Ireland
October 22: Kenya v Ireland
October 23: Kenya v Zimbabwe
October 25: Final
Sri Lanka tour itinerary
13-16 November: Four-day match, Harare
19 November: one-day warm-up match, Harare
21 November: 1st ODI, Harare Sports Club
23 November: 2nd ODI, Harare Sports Club
25 November: 3rd ODI, Harare Sports Club
28 November: 4th ODI, Queens Sports Club, Byo
30 November: 5th ODI, Queens Sports Club, Byo.
By Enock Muchinjo