ZIMBABWE Cricket are taking the tour opening four-day match against Sri Lanka seriously, head of selectors Kenyon Ziehl has said.
Zimbabwe Select will play the unofficial â€œTestâ€ match against the touring Asian side at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo beginning on Wednesday ahead of the two sidesâ€™ five-match One-Day International (ODI) series.
The Sri Lankans arrive in Bulawayo on Sunday.
â€œItâ€™s (the four-day match) very important because it leads us
into Test cricket,â€ Ziehl told IndependentSport yesterday. â€œThey judge us on the longer-version and we need to play 12-38 first-class matches before resumption of Test cricket.â€
IndependentSport can also reveal that Zimbabwe will tour Bangladesh in January for five ODIs and they are likely to add a four-dayer on the tour.
Â â€œWe are looking at batsmen that can occupy the crease. Thatâ€™s where we need to sort of build on,â€ Ziehl said.
â€œOn the bowlersâ€™ side we are looking at guys who can maintain a good line and length consistently. That is very critical at this level of the game.â€
The Zimbabwe team for the four-dayer was expected to be named yesterday. The team should include most of the first-teamers and a few longer-version specialists.
â€œI hope they (Sri Lanka) will use their strongest team. Itâ€™s important to have a look at their leading bowlers like (Ajantha) Mendis and (Muttiah) Muralitharan before the ODIs.â€
ZCâ€™s Cricket Affairs general manager, Trevor Mutangadura, told this paper in September that the four-day first-class matches were part of the associationâ€™s roadmap for a return to Test commitments.
â€œIt is part of our plan to return to Test cricket,â€ he said. â€œWhenever 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 guys must be out in the middle as long as possible, against quality opposition.â€
By Enock MuchinjoÂ