Zim cricket to tour India

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SPORTS WRITER

The Zimbabwe cricket team is set to tour India in March as the local game continues to recover from major setbacks it suffered last year after the team was bundled out of the World Cup by minnows United Arab Emirates.

The governing body, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) had huge financial problems that threatened its existence.

ZC media manager Darlington Majonga said they were hoping for a successful 2019 after the ugly events of last year.

“We will be touring India in March, although we will be organising some other game in between to prepare for the Indian tour. We are hoping that this will be our year because things have vastly improved on and off the field,” Majonga said.

He said local cricket competition, the Logan Cup will be resuming this weekend after a festive season break.

Their hosts in March India made history this week when they won their first Test win away in Australia in 71 years.

While it wasn’t quite the grandstand 3-1 finish they would have envisaged, it was a series win well deserved as they became the first Asian side to win a Test series in Australia. The senior men’s team was left licking their wounds in March last year after being ousted in the World Cup qualifiers they hosted.

Respected cricket analysts Cricinfo reported that throughout the World Cup qualifiers, Zimbabwe left things late, beating Afghanistan by just two runs and being held to a tie by Scotland. Craig Ervine needed to hit the last ball of the game for six to beat UAE, but Zimbabwe’s three run defeat in an atmosphere of high drama at a rain-soaked Harare Sports Club instead ended their World Cup dreams.

The loss cast a long shadow over the rest of Zimbabwe’s year. In the fallout, the entire coaching staff—as well as convenor of selectors Tatenda Taibu—was sacked, Graeme Cremer lost the captaincy, and several players made themselves unavailable for selection in a spat with the board over unpaid salaries.

Low on personnel and morale, Zimbabwe sank to one of the most one-sided series defeats of their history against Pakistan in July.

But by September the absent players were back in the fold and there was a lighter mood to Zimbabwe’s series against South Africa and Bangladesh that capped the year, despite results not often going their way.

Teams thought to pack a much more substantial punch than Zimbabwe have left Bangladesh emptyhanded in recent years. The Zimbabweans’ 151-run victory in the first Test was their first overseas Test win in 17 years.

Rarely can Harare Sports Club have witnessed an atmosphere comparable to that of Zimbabwe’s final World Cup Qualifier game. Packed to the rafters, the supporters urged the team on, but when Ervine’s attempt at last-ball heroics failed, it was as if all the air had been sucked out of the ground.

But that is now history.

The senior women’s cricket team brightened the prospects of the game this week when captain Marry-Anne Musonda led from the front to guide the visiting side to a 57-run victory over hosts Namibia to seal the Namib Desert Women’s T20 Challenge at the Sparta Club in Walvis Bay.

Musonda’s 60 runs helped Zimbabwe claim an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series after winning the opening two games comfortably.

They beat Namibia by six wickets in the first game and then came back charged up to claim an eight-wicket win in the second match.