Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
OPPORTUNITIES to watch international cricket games on home soil are often few and far between for most Zimbabwe cricket lovers.
But the next three weeks are set to provide an exciting beginning to the year when the Chevrons host Sri Lanka in a two-match Test series in Harare.
The Zimbabweans, who have been starved of international cricket against Full Members and especially in the longer version of the game, are cherishing the upcoming series as Harare Sports Club is set to host its first Test match in over three years.
Their last Test on home soil was in 2017 when they played West Indies at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. Harare Sports Club, which has hosted the majority of the limited overs games, will welcome the longer version of the game for the first time since 2016.
The first Test is scheduled to start this Sunday with the second match set for January 27-31. Both matches will be played at Harare Sports Club.
ZC spokesperson Darlington Majonga yesterday said the association has done all the groundwork to host the islanders, who ironically were the last team to play a Test at Harare Sports Club in November 2016.
“I think we are ready now. We are just busy putting the final touches to our preparations but come Sunday it will be all systems go,” he said.
This is the first piece of international action on Zimbabwean soil since the country’s suspension was lifted by the International Cricket Council following a difficult patch in 2019 when the association was found on the wrong side under the ICC code on government interference.
And in an effort to drum up support, Majonga said ZC have opened the gates free of charge to the supporters for the Test series. Zimbabwe need to revive interest among the supporters who have had to do without international cricket for a long time.
Majonga said the gates to the rest of the ground will be free of charge but those wishing to watch from the Embankment side will pay $30 while the tickets for the Centurion side will cost $50.
“This is going to be our first Test series at home in a long time, it feels like a fresh start. We are excited to host this series and we felt we should extend this kind of gesture to all the Chevrons followers out there and cricket fans who have been longing for international cricket.
“Since it is a new start, we would want as many people as possible to come and cheer the boys on and be part of this game. So the rest of the ground will be free of charge. We have announced the gate charges for the other areas and all forms of payment will be acceptable at the gates,” said Majonga.
Zimbabwe last played Test cricket in November 2018, in a two-match series against Bangladesh and players have been working hard in the last few weeks participating in the Logan Cup first class competitions. ZC announced a 25-member squad led by Sean Williams last week.
The team, which is under the tutelage of Indian coach Lalchan Rajput, immediately began camp in Harare and will have at least 10 days of camping.
Sri Lanka, who ironically were the last team to tour Harare for a Test series back in November 2017, are expected in town on Thursday.
Zimbabwe Provisional Test Squad
Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Kevin Kasuza, Timycen Maruma, William Mashinge, Prince Masvaure, Brandon Mavuta, Peter Joseph Moor, Brian Mudzinganyama, Tapiwa Mufudza, Carl Mumba, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Ainsley Ndlovu, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Charlton Tshuma, Sean Williams