Pakistan cancels Zimbabwe series in UAE


ISLAMABAD -Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) suffered another blow on Saturday (June 21) when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) cancelled their commitment of hosting a full series in the United Arab Emirates in December citing financial challenges.

The development follows the rescheduling of Zimbabwe A’s tour of Bangladesh, which would have preceded their home season that kicks off with a four-match One-Day International series against Afghanistan in August. That will be followed by a one-off Test and three ODIs against South Africa and a tri-series later, with Australia as the third side.

With very little cricket thereafter, Zimbabwe desperate for valuable match time ahead of the 2015 World Cup in February-March, are likely to fill the void by touring Bangladesh for three Tests and a few limited-over matches in December, a shift from the original October dates.

“We are trying our best to give the team more cricket, but unfortunately some of the series have had to be rescheduled,” Andy Waller, the Zimbabwe coach, said to The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper. “Pakistan will not be able to host us in Dubai as per schedule possibly due to financial challenges. That means we will have a gap again towards the end of the year. But we will play Bangladesh and that has been moved to December when we will play three Tests.”

Zimbabwe’s national players have been training in Harare for the last two weeks ahead of the series against Afghanistan in Bulawayo, and Waller hoped to zero in on an ideal combination ahead of the bigger battles.

“We are looking at playing our strongest side against Afghanistan; what is important is for the team to play lots of cricket,” he said. “Our goal is to make sure we play more cricket than we have been doing no matter the opposition. We want to particularly look at the combinations in the bowling department and we may look at a few younger players who have been putting their hands up.”

Waller acknowledged the harsh realities the team is faced with, especially in the wake of fresh concerns over the ongoing financial crisis within the board. While he admitted that playing Test cricket after a gap of 10 months would pose its own set of challenges, the team’s preparation was on track despite the off-field distractions.

“It’s a big challenge; we would have wanted to play more cricket in between the last Test and South Africa, but we are going to work hard and make the best out of the training programme,” he said. “We are playing two of the best sides in the world and we will aim to compete and if we can win one or two matches in the triangular series, then that would be a good achievement.” – Wisden