IN A COUNTRY where international cricket comes few and far between, there is a lot of excitement as the international season gets underway.
It is a struggle for the smaller nations to lend “big tours”, it is a real feather in the cap for Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) to have of the biggest names in the game in the country at the same time.
The Australians and South African captains have already committed to sending their strongest possible sides as the build ups to next year’s World Cup intensify. The cricketing world assumes the tri-nations will be about the two power houses, but Zimbabwe will be keen to show they are not just there to host and make up numbers.
The series presents an opportunity for ZC to get significant cash inflows as it’s not every day one has the rights to two of the best teams in the world. ZC has been busy marketing the game and talking to potential sponsors of the tour.
The hype around Mitchell Johnson and Dale Steyn doing battle in the country has every cricket lover salivating and for the first time since the Neil Johnson- inspired World Cup side (1999), ZC is receiving ticket inquiries from outside our borders.
Zimbabwe will be quick to point out the last time there was a series including South Africa as a warm-up to a major ICC event, they got the better of a Hashim Amla-captained South African side.
They will be banking on that little history and whatever home advantage they can get to be competitive in the series.
There is, however, the small issue of Afghanistan to take off, before the two giants. It is easier for Zimbabwe to play the bigger countries as there is less pressure because most people don’t expect much.
It is the smaller countries that present the biggest challenge as they try and prove the point that they can play in the higher echelons of the game.
Zimbabwe has not exactly covered itself in glory and the minnows believe they have a genuine chance of causing an upset in the City of Kings. Zimbabwe will have to bring their ‘A’ game to ensure they build sufficient momentum into the series with South Africa and Australia.
Whichever way the games go it promises to be some exciting cricket that coincides with Bulawayo celebrating its 120th anniversary.
On the Crease appeals to the Bulawayo public to turn up in their numbers to support the boys. Tickets for the matches will be a dollar all round and coolers will be permitted into the venue. (NO GLASS)
•West Indies handed New Zealand their first away series win against a major Test-playing side. They surrendered a small first innings lead as Kane Williamson showed why his star is growing each day as he blasted a second innings hundred to take the match away from the Calypso Kings.
A top order collapse insured that they were never in the game despite a rearguard stand that made the game look closer than it was; the Windies let the series slip 2-1. The teams now turn their attention to the coloured clothing.
•India has arrived in England for a full series. There could be no better time for the Indians to do battle with the English as the side are at an all time low after their disastrous showing against Sri Lanka recently.
The underperforming skipper Alistair Cook has refused to bow to public pressure to relinquish the captaincy. The Indians have not made secret their intensions to “go after” Cook.
Sri Lanka doesn’t have much time to bask in their glory as the host South Africa.
South Africa has historically not done well on the island and will be keen to put that record straight as the era of Amla as Test skipper gets underway. What a place to start! Best of luck mate!
We will keep you posted on all the mouth-watering clashes right here. Quote of the week. “I would add a fourth stump,” Australian legend Glen McGrath responding to a question, how he would improve the game.