MUTARE -Zimbabwe A will face Pakistan A, popularly known as the Shaheens, in a four-day game that will present local fans with an opportunity to taste international cricket. International Cricket is returning to Mutare after five years when Zimbabwe A hosted the Kenya National Cricket team at Mutare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe A and Pakistan A will clash in a four-day game which began on Wednesday ending on Saturday. The Shaheens are In Zimbabwe for the series as part of Zimbabwe’s final preparations for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023.
It is also an opportunity for local players to push for inclusion in the Zimbabwe senior national team. Manicaland Cricket Board Administrator Terry Nyakurimwa said they were delighted to host Pakistan.
“We are delighted as Team Manicaland at this opportunity to host an international game.
“We welcome the Pakistan team to our beautiful province. The games started on Wednesday, and the atmosphere was great. There was a good fan turnout, and the support from the Ministry of Sports was invaluable.
“They came to watch and meet the teams. The sponsors were great. A big thank you to them,” said Nyakurimwa.
The two sides started with four-day matches at Kwekwe Sports Club last Wednesday.
The hosts have a young side that includes seven players who were part of the Zimbabwe squad for the Test series against the West Indies in February – Brandon Mavuta, Victor Nyauchi, Milton Shumba, Tanaka Chivanga, Brad Evans, Tanu Makoni and Joylord Gumbie.
Action will then move to Harare for the six-match 50-over series pitting a Zimbabwe Select team against the Shaheens, with the first encounter pencilled in for Takashinga Cricket Club on May 17.
The rest of the one-dayers will be played at Harare Sports Club on May 19, 21, 23, 25 and 27.
Zimbabwe A coach Stuart Matsikenyeri said he expects his charges to produce strong performances.
“As always, we are excited when we get opportunities to play strong sides such as this and Pakistan have always been good to us in the sense that they always bring us really good, strong A sides whenever they come around.
“ I have a young side, but we have a few who have been in and around international cricket.
They are still at the development stage in international cricket, so all of the lessons they get from these sides are ever so important. The boys are really looking forward to it,” he said.
ZC arranged the series to help Zimbabwe fine-tune for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 will be staged across four venues in Harare and Bulawayo from June 18-July 9.
The event will see 10 teams competing for the two remaining places at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India later in the year.