THE Zimbabwe Under-19 cricket team left for India yesterday as they look to intensify their preparations for the inaugural ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup.
The tournament, which is now less than two months away, is set to be hosted in neighbouring South Africa, in January next year.
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) announced yesterday that the team will take their preparations to the Asian country.
“Zimbabwe Under-19s left for India today for a three-week training camp. This is part of preparations for January’s ICC U-19 Women’s World Cup,” said ZC in a statement.
India has become a popular venue for Zimbabwe cricket teams. The men’s Under-19 team is also currently in India where they are touring the Omtex ICWC Cricket institute.
The women’s senior team also held a training camp in India as part of their preparations for the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier after receiving an invitation from Omtex ICWC.
The institute is famed for its state of the art infrastructure, international standard cricket pitches — both indoors and outdoors — and provide opportunities to play plenty of matches.
The Under-19 Women’s tour is crucial in the preparations for the upcoming ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World scheduled for early next year in South Africa.
As many as 16 teams will compete in the tournament, which will start on January 14. It will be followed by the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023, which also begins in South Africa from February 9 featuring the senior women’s national teams.
Quite remarkably, it means South Africa will host two ICC events in the space of two months. Zimbabwe senior women failed to make it to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 but the Under-19s will be part of the jamboree in their own version of the youth World Cup after they got automatic qualification to the global showpiece.
The eleven Full-Member nations gained automatic entry to the inaugural edition of the Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup and these are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.
The remaining five spots were filled by one team from each of the ICC’s five regions, through regional Qualifier tournaments.
Indonesia, Rwanda, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates booked their tickets through regional qualifiers.
USA gained the fifth qualifying spot being the only Associate nation eligible to compete under ICC’s Event Pathway Participation Criteria in the Americas region.
Zimbabwe will be Group B at the tournament alongside England, Pakistan and Rwanda. The youth team is leaving no stone unturned in preparation for their first ever World Cup appearance. They toured South Africa recently where they played a five-match Twenty20 series against the South Africa Under-19 Women.
ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup Groups
Group A: Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and USA
Group B: England, Pakistan, Rwanda and Zimbabwe
Group C: Indonesia, Ireland, New Zealand and West Indies
Group D: India, Scotland, South Africa and the UAE