Durham enjoy fun in the sun in Zimbabwe
Senior Sports Reporter
COACH of the visiting Durham County Cricket side coach Ryan Campbell says his team is enjoying every moment of their stay in Zimbabwe where they have set base for practice games and team building as part of the preparations for the upcoming 2023 Championship season.
Durham, who are returning to the country three years after a similar pre-season tour was aborted at the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, began their itinerary with a massive innings and 145 runs win over the Southerns select at Harare Sports Club over the weekend.
They ensured yesterday that the three-day game was over and done with inside two days, thanks to a brilliant century from England Test batter Alex Lees and the incisive bowling of Ben Raine and Matthew Potts.
The Durham squad have a 19-day camp in Harare comprising of matches and warm weather training. They arrived last Thursday and were out on the grass the following day.
“That first day outdoors is so exciting and you could feel there is a real buzz around the group,” said Campbell about the first day outdoors. “I think our pre-season has been fantastic back in Durham and this is just to top us off really; and to get outdoors in good conditions was really impressive to see what’s going on.
“Zimbabwe is a great place. You know, I will always speak very highly of this place and not just to come for cricket but just as a place, some of the sites and the people are always friendly.
“Some of the guys have had the opportunity to come. Hopefully this is the first of many times. Another group came (in 2020) when Covid-19 broke out but were pretty keen to come back. “So it already made a really good impression on them and hopefully in the next few days we are going to work out and play some games. Hopefully this is the first of many trips.”
Campbell, who played international cricket for Australia and Hong Kong, said the tour was also important for bonding and team building.
“Of course, these are the moments when you get to know each other. We are one of the squads that has been playing together for some time but every year we are adding to that squad and the depth.
“But you do have to get to know each other because in elite sport things get bad and when the chips are down you need to know who has your back; we are here in Zimbabwe enjoying a couple of days or just talking about how we are going to play the game and what we want from each other.
“It is vital honestly. So I am looking forward to those next couple of days. It’s obviously relaxing; it’s probably our last opportunity to relax as well. So it’s going to be a really exciting time,” said Campbell. Durham also unveiled a new kit partner and unveiled their new shirts in Zimbabwe. They said in a statement that UK company, BPP Visual, will be the club’s official County Championship shirt sponsor, as they stepped up preparations for the 2023 season.
“BPP Visual will have their logo printed on the front of Durham’s County Championship playing shirt which will be officially released during the Club’s pre-season tour of Zimbabwe,” said the club in a statement.
“In addition to becoming a shirt sponsor for our men’s team, BPP Visual will partner with the club in a number of other ways throughout 2023 which includes extending their partnership as a box holder at Seat Unique Riverside.”
Durham conducted photo shoots at Harare Sports Club and wore the newly-branded shirts in their game against the Southerns select.
They had Southerns 94 all out in only 26.1 overs. Richmond Mutumbami and Roy Kaia 31 were the highest scorers for the home team. Raine was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4/21, Potts had 3/17 while Brydon Carse took 2/23. Their batters dominated the home side’s bowlers and declared at 403/8. The Zimbabweans could only manage 164 runs in their second innings.