Cricket World Cup Qualifier Still In Zim
DESPITE attempts to have next year’s International Cricket Council World Cup Qualifier moved from Zimbabwe, the country remains the host nation for the tournament to be held in March 2018.
Indications are that pressure had been exerted on the ICC to move the qualifier away from the country during the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ Operation Restore Legacy that led to the resignation of former President Robert Mugabe.
Normalcy has since been restored following the swearing in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Friday.
ICC head of media and communications, Sami Ul Hasan said the world cricket governing body was keeping an eye on the political developments in Zimbabwe and had no plans of moving the tournament from the country.
“We are monitoring situation in Zimbabwe, but as of now, there is no change of the plans, meaning the event is in Zimbabwe between March 1 and 25,” Ul Hassan said.
Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani said a teleconference for the ICC board was held last Wednesday, as the global governing body sought clarity on the situation in the country.
“We had a teleconference on Wednesday where the ICC board agreed that the tournament goes ahead in Zimbabwe. The ICC was just monitoring the political events in Zimbabwe seeing that we are just a few months away from the qualifier. They wanted an update on the political events in Zimbabwe which we provided,” Mukuhlani said.
The ICC announced in October that Zimbabwe would host the 10-team World Cup Qualifier ahead of a joint bid by Ireland and Scotland as well as a single show of interest by the United Arab Emirates.
Zimbabwe, West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland, Netherlands and Papua New Guinea have qualified for the tournament with four slots still up for grabs.
A local organising committee chaired by ZC cricket operations manager Christian Chiketa is already in place to ensure that the tournament runs smoothly.
Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo Athletic Club, Old Hararians, Harare Sports Club and Kwekwe Sports Club will stage the qualifiers.
Takashinga Cricket Club in Harare as well as the Old Mutual Heath Streak Academy will be used as training venues.
Warm up matches are scheduled for February 22 to March 1.
The top two teams in the qualifier will book a spot at the 2019 Cricket World Cup to be held in England.