IT WAS still business as usual for the Zimbabwe cricket team yesterday as they continued preparations ahead of a scheduled visit by India despite reports the tour has been cancelled.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Zimbabwe’s training squad took part in a fielding session at Harare Sports Club yesterday morning under the watchful eye of head coach Dav Whatmore and bowling coach Douglas Hondo.
Another practice session was scheduled later in the afternoon before the start of practice matches at the same venue tomorrow.
Whatmore said despite the reports the tour had been cancelled they were still hopeful it would go ahead as planned.
“They (the reports on the cancellation of the tour) haven’t affected our preparations. We are still preparing as planned. We had a fielding session in the morning and we will be shifting to specific areas starting tomorrow with the practice matches,” Whatmore said.
India were scheduled to play three ODIs and two T20 Internationals in Zimbabwe from July 10, but India , who are currently touring Bangladesh, are reportedly reluctant to tour.
Although reports from India cited player fatigue as one of the reasons, sources say the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s strained relationship with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) broadcast partner Ten Sports remained the major stumbling block.
Ten Sports is owned by the Indian conglomerate company, the Essel Group, which was behind the formation of the controversial rebel Indian Cricket League in 2007.
Meanwhile, ZC director international, domestic cricket and commercial affairs Alistair Campbell said they would have an official position regarding the tour either today or tomorrow.
“I’m yet to hear anything from either the board chairman (Wilson Manase) or (CEO) Wilfred Mukondiwa who are in Barbados. I understand they will be meeting with the BCCI officials today (yesterday) and we could have a final position either tomorrow (today) or Thursday (tomorrow),” Campbell said.
The former Zimbabwe captain also dismissed indications that New Zealand could come earlier than expected for their limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe if nothing materialises from the talks between ZC and BCCI in Barbados.
New Zealand were expected to play three ODIs and a lone T20 against Zimbabwe from August 2-9 before proceeding to South Africa.
However, with India’s visit now hanging in the balance, sources told NewsDay Sport that ZC were exploring the possibility of pushing forward their limited-overs series against New Zealand.
A three-member New Zealand delegation is in the country assessing conditions ahead of their scheduled tour next month.
“Remember New Zealand will be proceeding to South Africa soon after their tour here so there’s no chance that their schedule will be changed so it’s not true,” Campbell said.
Zimbabwe training squad:
Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Luke Jongwe, Roy Kaia, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Neville Madziva, Hamilton Masakadza, Christopher Mpofu, Richmond Mutumbami, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Donald Tiripano, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller and Sean Williams