By PHILLIMON MHLANGA
Zimbabwe’s senior men cricket team’s proposed tour of India next month has been called off as the Asian country has secured the same window for bilateral series with Australia instead. The move follows meetings between Zimbabwe’s ruling cricket body, the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, held in Mumbai last week
ZC acting managing director Givemore Makoni and chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani returned from meetings in Mumbai last week where they were negotiating with the Board of Control for Cricket in India. ZC, which is facing severe financial problems, was also trying to persuade India to come to Zimbabwe instead.
Makoni confirmed this week that the proposed tour of India in March was officially off. Makoni believed the two parties had made sufficient progress in discussions to save the tour only for the Asian country to turn down Zimbabwe’s proposal last week saying they were now playing Australia in March instead.
He, however, said negotiations to have the two Test playing nations face off after the World Cup was on-going. “We were meant to tour India in March (this year) but they are now playing Australia instead.
We are now looking at maybe after the Cricket World Cup,” Makoni said. Asked for specific dates, Makoni said:
“No date yet, but discussions are still on-going.”
While India is one of the 10 teams participating in the 2019 Cricket World Cup to be staged in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14, 2019, Zimbabwe, which hosted the qualifying tournament last year and eliminated, will not take part in the World Cup for the first time since 1983.
Zimbabwe beat Afghanistan by two runs, held to a tie by Scotland and lost to minnows, the United Arab Emirates by three runs at Harare Sports Club, ending the Chevrons’ World Cup dreams.
The global showpiece has changed its format. Ten teams will participate in the tournament, a decrease from previous World Cups in 2011 and 2015 which featured 14 teams.
The teams participating in the World Cup are England, South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and West Indies.
The 2019 showpiece is the 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup. It will be the first World Cup to be contested without all of the Test playing nations being represented. After the elimination of all Associate teams at the qualifying tournament, this will be the first World Cup to feature non Associate members. In previous World Cups, Associate teams were guaranteed four spots in the tournament. But, this year they were all eliminated in the qualifying tournaments.