ZIMBABWE’S place in South Africa’s domestic one-day tournaments was confirmed last week, after meetings with all relevant stakeholders were held in Johannesburg. Zimbabwe will take part in the 50-over MTN domestic championship and the Pro20 series on a home and away basis.
Cricket South Africa, along with the six franchises and the South Africa Cricketers’ Association, agreed that Zimbabwe would play as a seventh franchise, but would not take part in the SuperSport four-day series which has already begun.
The initial proposal had included Zimbabwe in the South African premier first-class tournament in the plans, but it fell through because it was felt their late inclusion would devalue the competition. Zimbabwe, however, will play three first-class matches against a South Africa Composite XI, called the SuperSport Challenge, made up of six successful franchise players and the leading amateurs from the level below. The team will be chosen by the national selection panel.
The first match began at Sedgars Park in Potchefstroom on Thursday which saw Zimbabwe winning the match by 10 wickets. Zimbabwe posted an imposing first innings total of 493, the mainstay of the innings being Hamilton Masakadza (88) and captain Prosper Utseya who notched up his maiden first class ton – he finished on 115 not out.
In the field, Timycen Maruma picked up seven wickets in the match. It was a good all-round performance and Zimbabwe will be relishing their next challenge against the West Indies.
Gerald Majola, the Cricket South Africa CEO, said, “Following a series of meetings between the CEOs of CSA’s Affiliates and the South African Cricketers’ Association, agreement was reached at assisting Zimbabwe players to participate in a more competitive level of cricket.
“This is in terms of a request by the ICC to provide Zimbabwe players with an opportunity to play more competitive cricket in their bid to play Test cricket again,” he said.
“The South African players, through SACA, also wish to assist Zimbabwe players in this regard and also for the participation to be beneficial to South African cricket. “The Zimbabwe Cricket Union has welcomed this initiative, and has agreed to field Zimbabwe’s strongest team for every match. This new set-up will be reviewed at the end of the 2007-8 season “.Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News