Zimbabwe to play in South African domestic tournaments
Zimbabwe's place in South Africa's domestic one-day tournaments has been confirmed after meetings in Johannesburg. They will take part in the 50-over MTN domestic championship and the Pro20 series on a home and away basis.
Cricket South Africa, the six franchises and the South Africa Cricketers' Association agreed that Zimbabwe would play as a seventh franchise, but would not take part in the SuperSport series which has already begun. The initial proposal had included the first-class tournament in the plans, but it was opposed because it was felt their late inclusion would devalue the competition.
However, Zimbabwe will play three first-class matches against a South Africa Composite XI, called the SuperSport Challenge, made up of six successful franchise players and the leading amateurs from the level below. The team will be chosen by the national selection panel.
The first match begins at Sedgars Park in Potchefstroom on Thursday and the other fixtures and venues will be announced shortly, but all three matches will take place in South Africa. The fixtures involving Zimbabwe for the limited overs competitions will also be announced shortly, but will not affect existing fixtures announced by CSA.
Gerald Majola, the Cricket South Africa CEO, said: "Following a series of meetings between the CEOs of CSA's Affiliates and the South African Cricketers' Association, agreement was reached at assisting Zimbabwe players to participate in a more competitive level of cricket.
"This is in terms of a request by the ICC to provide Zimbabwe players with an opportunity to play more competitive cricket in their bid to play Test cricket again," he said. "The South African players, through SACA, also wish to assist Zimbabwe players in this regard and also for the participation to be beneficial to South African cricket.
"The Zimbabwe Cricket Union has welcomed this initiative, and has agreed to field Zimbabwe's strongest team for every match. This new set-up will be reviewed at the end of the 2007-8 season".
South African Composite XI Benji Hector (capt), Stephen Cook, Cliffie Deacon, Athenkosi Dyili (wk), Petrus Koortzen, Dumisa Makalima, Sinethemba Mjekula, Pepler Sandri, Blake Snijman, Jean Symes, Stiaan van Zyl, Timmy Gamade (12th man)