ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) is on the verge of clinching a deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which would see the Indian national cricket team committing to visiting Zimbabwe every year for the next five years.
India has since confirmed they would tour Zimbabwe next month if certain conditions are met, and ZC will do everything possible to make sure the lucrative tour goes ahead.
But local cricket is set to benefit further from a deal that could see the game racking in over US$25 million in benefits over the next five years.
The India home tour is the most sought after visit by any of the top cricket nations due to the huge financial benefits that accrue from hosting the cricket super powers.
Well-placed sources this week told IndependentSport ZC could strike the deal which would see the national team playing four ODIs and three T-20s against India in Zimbabwe every year.
“ZC is looking at increasing its revenues and the number of matches the national team plays,” said the source. “There are engagements with most of the top nations so that the team benefits from more matches while also opening up revenue streams. There are talks with BCCI so that their team can guarantee ZC tours every year. The talks have been positive and obviously India will make their own demands.”
India have toured Zimbabwe for the last three years and would be returning next month for a five-match ODI series.
Last year Zimbabwe lost all five matches to the Virati Kohli-captained side.
While there have been preliminary discussions about a possible three-year bilateral tours deal between Pakistan and Zimbabwe it is the deal with India that would guarantee an improvement in finances for ZC which is sitting on a huge debt.
With several home tours that include India, Pakistan, the West Indies, Ireland and Bangladesh on this year, ZC requires millions to host the tours but there are moves to ensure the tours are self-servicing.
Fans would be thrilled at the prospect of more game time for the team especially with so many matches set to be played at home. The India matches are some of the most popular in Zimbabwe and almost always attract a full house.
Coach Dave Whatmore this week expressed delight at the prospect of the team playing more cricket.
“The only way we can improve is by competition,” said Whatmore. “I am pleased that we have a good number of matches lined up, just like any full member. Next up is India and we will be looking to continue improving.”
Zimbabwe aim to gatecrash the top eight in the ICC ODI rankings in order to avoid going through a World Cup qualifying phase against associate nations, and another full member.