Two English cricket teams to tour Zimbabwe after 23 years
For the first time in more than two decades, Zimbabwe are going to host two English County sides in March.
Accepting Zimbabwe Cricket’s invitation, Derbyshire and Durham will play matches of all three formats of the game against local opposition in Bulawayo and Harare respectively.
The last county team to officially visit Zimbabwe was Worcestershire in March-April 1997.
For Derbyshire, it would be their first tour to Zimbabwe while Durham will be making its second visit. Durham last toured Zimbabwe in 1991/1992.
Confirming the tour, a statement from Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) said, “Led by former Zimbabwe captain and coach Dave Houghton who is their head of cricket, Derbyshire will be touring the country for the first time and will face a Zimbabwe Select side in two T20 matches, two 50-over games and two three-day fixtures at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.”
“Durham, who toured Zimbabwe in the 1991/92 season, will play two three-day matches versus the Chairman’s XI at Harare Sports Club in the capital,” the statement added.
Since England national cricket team’s last visit in to Zimbabwe in November and December 2004 for four One Day Internationals (ODIs) in Bulawayo and Harare, cricket relations between the two countries had been jeopardized by political strains.
Zimbabwe Cricket director of cricket, Hamilton Masakadza, said the tour by the two English county cricket sides would be a huge boost for the country.
“We are thrilled to be hosting Derbyshire and Durham. The magnitude and importance of their visit cannot be over-emphasised,”
“While our players will learn big lessons and gain invaluable experience from playing against such top opposition, we believe this marks the beginning of a new chapter that will hopefully see more English county teams touring Zimbabwe as that will go a long way in preparing our players for the rigours of high-level and international cricket,” he added.