ZIMBABWE Cricket is organising more practice matches for the national team ahead of selection of the final squad for the Twenty-20 World Cup in Sri Lanka in September.
After the triangular series played and won against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the Alan Butcher-coached side is looking for more opposition that can keep the team primed for the imminent tough challenge.
Zimbabwe “A” will this month play a triangular series against South Africa and Sri Lanka in the 50-over format.
The squad selected for this series will not benefit the T-20 side much, hence the search for more sparring opponents.
Cricket committee chairman Alistair Campbell confirmed negotiations are on to organise crucial practice matches.
“We have been negotiating with other nations and we should have something concrete in the next few weeks,” said Campbell. “There was an International Cricket Committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur recently and at that conference the managing director (Wilfred Mukondiwa) took the opportunity to propose practice matches with other boards.”
While Campbell would not reveal the teams Zimbabwe is aiming to play, it is believed that they are hoping to tie up matches against Pakistan and Kenya, with Namibia being another option.
Zimbabwe has good relations with Pakistan, while Kenya is likely to warm up to the idea of playing a stronger team.
Zimbabwe is in the same group as neighbours South Africa as well as hosts Sri Lanka with two teams qualifying to the next round.
After beating South Africa –– who however missed three key players –– twice in the triangular series, Zimbabwe are buoyant about their chances and need to beat just one of the two to stand a good chance of progressing.
A provisional squad of 30 players will be picked today, which would be trimmed to 15 players who will travel to Sri Lanka.
The bloated squad means the door may not necessarily have closed on the likes of Charles Coventry and Craig Ervine. Spinner Raymond Price, who missed the triangular series through injury, has recovered and returned to action.
Zim A squad:
Tinotenda Mawoyo (cpt), Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva (wkt),Tendai Chatara, Craig Ervine, Gavin Ewing, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Kevin Kasuza, Greg Lamb, Tendai Manatsa, Shingi Masakadza, Odicious Mhanje, Hillary Matanga, Tawanda Mupariwa, Forster Mutizwa, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Richmond Mutumbani, Richard Muzhange, Njabulo Ncube, John Nyumbu, Bradley Staddon, Cephas Zhuwawo.