ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC)’s audacious bid to have a longer stay in Australia when they make their first visit Down Under for a series in almost two decades appears to have hit the brick wall after their counterparts turned down overtures to include either a Test match or three T20is on the initial three-match ODI series schedule.
The ODI series which was initially supposed to take place in August 2020 as part of the ICC World Cup Super League was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will now take place this year.
However, ZC chairperson Tavengwa Mukuhlani revealed earlier in the year that they were pushing for the rescheduled tour to include a one-off Test or three T20is which was highly unlikely in view of Australia’s busy schedule.
“A Test match against Australia in their conditions would be great development for our players, who would really look forward to the challenge,” Mukuhlani told Crincinfo back in February.
“We are confident either a one-off Test or the T20is can be arranged, so we have a bigger tour but it is subject to their scheduling,” he said. “We will come even if it is for three ODIs.”
Australia cricket this week released a busy schedule which will see them entertain Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, India, West Indies and England between June and October.
The Aussies are set to tour Sri Lanka for a full series in June and July which includes two Tests, three ODIs and as many T20 is before they host Zimbabwe and New Zealand for three ODIs in August and September.
A trip to India for a white ball series in September is also on the cards as well as T20 matches at home to West Indies and England in October.
Had Australia agreed to include a Test match in the schedule for the Zimbabwe visit it would have been the first encounter in the red-ball version of the game since October 2003 when Matthew Hayden set a then world record score of 380 in the first Test at the WACA.
In ODIs, the two teams last met in Harare back in August 2014 when Zimbabwe upset Australia by three wickets while the country last played Australia in a 50-over match in Australia during the VB Series which also involved India in January 2004.
Zimbabwe will not be too disappointing considering the country also has a busy schedule of international cricket in the coming few months.
The country hosts fast-improving Namibia for five T20 matches starting on May 17 at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo as preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2022 set for July in Harare, begin.
Next month Zimbabwe will also host Afghanistan for a white ball series, including three ODIs and five T20s with the 50-over matches pencilled for June 12, 14 and 17 at Harare Sports club.
The T20 is will be played on June 20, 22, 24, 27 and 27 at the same venue.
Zimbabwe is also set to host the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier B in which eight nations will be fighting for the last two slots for the World Cup which will be hosted by Australia in October and November this year.
The eight teams including Hong Kong, Jersey, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Uganda, United States and the hosts will be placed in two groups of four, with two sides from each group advancing to the semi-finals.
And the two teams that reach the final of the Global Qualifier will advance to the Men’s T20 World Cup.