ICC Intercontinental Cup 2010 August 26, 2010

Ireland's Zimbabwe tour confirmed

Cricinfo staff

Ireland's trip to Zimbabwe has been confirmed, and in addition to the Intercontinental Cup match against a Zimbabwe XI, three one-day internationals between the senior national teams have been arranged. All of the games will take place in Harare, with the four-day fixture starting on Monday September 20. The ODIs follow on September 26, 27 and 30.

Zimbabwe withdrew from Test cricket in 2006 and were subsequently admitted to the Intercontinental Cup on the understanding that their four home games would be played at neutral venues. But along with the relative political stability in the country, Zimbabwe Cricket has worked hard to improve its structures after divisive squabbling between players and administrators had wrecked cricket in the country.

There had been some speculation as to whether Ireland would make the trip at all, and for a time there had been a possibility that the Intercontinental Cup fixture would take place in South Africa. But both Kenya and Afghanistan recently played their Intercontinental Cup matches in Zimbabwe, who also hosted Sri Lanka and India in a one-day tri-series in June this year, so the pressure on Ireland to make the trip was always going to be immense. Now that their tour has been confirmed, it is almost certain that Scotland - who are scheduled to play Zimbabwe XI in the middle of October - will also make the trip.

The Zimbabwe XI are currently in third place behind Afghanistan and Scotland in the Intercontinental Cup, having drawn against Afghanistan and beaten Kenya, Netherlands and Canada. Ireland are fifth on the points table after draws against Scotland and Kenya and a loss to Afghanistan at Dambulla.

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  • Boy on September 1, 2010, 16:19 GMT

    Meety, it was a T20I warm-up game with both sides playing their preferred XI...and anyone will concur the Aussies don't like losing to minnows! Please recall it isn't the first time Zim is doing it Against Australia- they had the better of them 2 years ago in the inaugural tournament in UK...

  • Rakesh on September 1, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    It is very exciting to ote that Ireland and Zimbabwe ae promoting cricket at grassroot level,in schools etc.The locals are involved unlike just stop gap immigrants like in Canada. This is real recipe for future success. Also these nations will add real international flavour to Cricket.

  • andrew on September 1, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    Should be a cracking contest. Neither Ireland or Zimbabwe can afford to underestimate each other as both have rapidly improved since 2007. One particular issue the comments/article overlooks is that the County Cricket season finishes on the 18th September. So Boyd Rankin, William Porterfield and Gary Wilson should be all available and Ireland will be at full strength. (i think Niall O'brien will back from injury too by then)

  • Andrew on August 31, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    I still think you guys (Meety and Mihir) are under-rating Zimbabwe. Remember when Zim was at its lowest low in 2007, Ireland still struggled to draw with us in that world cup match. You cannot compare the team, the coaching staff and the whole Zim settup then, which was a total shambles, to what is happening now. Warm up games or not, we are starting to do better against big teams. Remember too that the results of the ZIM XI in the Intercontinental Cup do not really give a proper indication as it is fully our second team, with an average age of 24 and limited first class experience (that said, they have still won most of the games so far). If our full team were playing they would be far too strong for the others. So suggesting we play in the bottom tier of a test competition is a little premature. Lets see if we can continue to improve over the next year or two.

  • Mihir on August 31, 2010, 10:29 GMT

    Ireland is in good form but top players are missing due to county commitments. Will be sigh of relief for Zimbabwe. Intercontinental Cup holds crucial for both the Nation one to reclaim status and other to prove they can be Test Team too. Yes One off Test against Ireland for Visiting teams to England will be good Idea. Anyways series in England is too long with International teams playing against many county teams..Addition of International Test And 3Odi's will be worth watching with Television boradcast ..For Eg When India is touring England 2011 they can stop by and play one off test and 3odi in Ireland.though test may get over in 3days but u never know. And Ireland can host Bangladesh,Zimbabwe(without Political Tensions),West Indies,New Zealand for 2-3 Test series and 5 odi's..and play South Africa India Australia in 1off Test and 3Odi's. Even Ireland can tour these top 3Nations at start of their season for same 1Test as Tour Opener..

  • Andrew on August 31, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    @Rakesh_Sharma - I agree that Zimbabwe's decline was because of a talent drain. I also agree that Bangladesh has underperformed and should not of been brought into Test cricket ... yet. Having said that I think Bangladesh now, are a better cricket nation particular with Tamim, Shakib & Mahmudullah. I have long held the belief that there needs to be several tiers in test cricket to enable the lower ranked nations experience against similarly ranked opposition. I would have Zim in the bottom of three tiers with Banga, Ireland & Kenya & maybe Afghanistan. They would play against each other over 3 test series, and occasionally play against the second tier in 2 test series at home, and one test abroad. There would also be the chance for promotion over time so long as they had proved themselves. I don't think it would do much good having Zim tour Sth Africa and get hammered 3-0 with innings defeats. But a hard fought 2-1 sereies win over Bangladesh would be good for the team.

  • Andrew on August 31, 2010, 4:54 GMT

    @Nduru - we'll see. I will apologise on this site if Zim win 3-0. I know that Zim have had their ups and downs, I have absolutely no idea whether all of the available Zimbabweans will play. Please remember that 2 or 3 of Irelands best will not be playing because they have pledged their support to England. Point of order, the win against Australia was in T20 practise match - well done for winning but it doesn't really count. As I said it will be an interesting series and I hope whoever wins gets a crack at more international fixtures and a shot at Tests.

  • Rakesh on August 30, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    The series will be interesting. Zimbabwe was always a very competitive team internationally unlike Bangladesh who were elevated by Indian lobby led by Dalmiya for currupt votebank politics in ICC. The reason Zim became like Bangladesh performancewise was because there fulll cricketing establishment and current and upcoming players boycotted against Mugabe attrocities. Bangladesh has been a disgrace in international cricket. Please all Zimbabwe players come back home. Streak can play for couple of seasons so is Grant Flower etc etc. Zim team with Sean, Craig Ervine, Price, Taibu, Blignaught, Merrilier, Taylor Chingumbura is definitely 10 times stronger than Bangladesh.

  • Andrew on August 30, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    3-0 win for Ireland in the ODIs? You must be dreaming Meety! I think Ireland have an outside chance of drawing the cup game against the ZIM XI (our second team). But our first team is looking very competitive these days with many improvements in coaching and players returning etc. Perhaps if you had held on to Morgan you'd have a better chance. I recon Ireland could win one of the ODIs on their day, but unless Zim play truly badly, I think they can win the series easily. This year Zim has beaten WIndies, India, Sri Lanka, Australia and Pakistan in limited overs cricket, so why would Ireland whitewash us?

  • Levi on August 29, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Great result especially when you loook at the odi rankings 3 matches, short series, much to play for and crucial cup match 4 ZIM. Always great 2 see ZIM involved in meaningful international fixtures and a keen eye placed on where they at in preparations for the world cup. win the cup match and would not be disappointed with 2-1 series win so keen 2 see BT, chopper, pricey, cremer, hamilton and all the boys hav a solid competitive hit out go ZIM!

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