Zimbabwe news November 22, 2013

Zimbabwe domestic season to proceed without funding

Zimbabwe's domestic season will get underway in two weeks' time, without sponsorship for any of its three formats. Originally scheduled to start in November, the competitions were delayed while Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) tried to secure funding. They have not been able to, but will stage a full season with all three formats being played, featuring all five franchises at venues across the country.

"The companies that we usually partner with have also been struggling to make ends meet," Lovemore Banda, ZC's media and communications manager, told the Herald newspaper. Corporates who previously partnered with ZC included beer brand Castle, Stanbic Bank, Metbank and Croco Motors. None of them have re-signed agreements after last season, and they were also absent during the incoming tours to Zimbabwe over this year.

Bangladesh, India and Pakistan all visited Zimbabwe between April and September this year. The series against Bangladesh and Pakistan consisted of two Tests, three ODIs and two T20s each and corporates associated with the two visiting countries, such as Cool&Cool and Haier were signed on as sponsors. The India series consisted of just five ODIs but provided ZC with a much-needed cash injection.

That money, together with the ICC grant, will play a big role in making the domestic season possible this summer. There has been no cricket in Zimbabwe since Pakistan's visit in September. A planned visit by Sri Lanka in October was postponed on ZC's request because of a lack of funds.

When that series was put on the backburner there were concerns Zimbabwe's domestic season would not take place at all, putting their status as ICC Full Members at risk. Sources told ESPNcricinfo the ICC sent a delegation to Zimbabwe to assess the state of the game there but the ICC offered a "no comment," when asked for a confirmation.

Whether pressure or assistance from the game's governing body has helped kickstart the season is not known but for the country's cricketers, this will be welcome game time after a lengthy period out of the game. Many Zimbabwean cricketers, including the captain Brendan Taylor, opening batsmen Hamilton Masakadza and allrounder Sean Williams, spent time in the Dhaka Premier Division.

For the rest, it has been a worrying waiting game with the knowledge that their next international assignment is a big one - the World T20 in Bangladesh next year- and match practice will be crucial before that. ZC has scheduled the T20 tournament to run a month before that competition starts on March 16. The entire event will be played at the Harare Sports Club over six days from February 4 to 9, with two matches taking place per day.

The season starts with the 50-over and first-class competitions which will be played simultaneously. To save money, a team will travel to the opponents' venue and play them in both a one-day game and a four-day match. Such a system cuts down travel costs. All teams play each other twice in each competition.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • George on November 28, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    When the time comes Ireland will play test cricket and it won't be at the expense of Zimbabwe. What matters is cricket being played by everyone in Zimbabwe.

  • Sachit on November 26, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    These kind of challenges are going to push Zimbabwe Cricket further deep into the pit. They are already struggling to retain best of their talents due to lack of quality Cricket at domestic level and obviously money. If Zimbabwe government can't do much about it then I think ICC should pitch in and try helping ZCU. Reform also requires lot of structural changes in ZCU so that right people hold right posts and take right decisions for the sake of betterment of Cricket in the country.

  • Bludging on November 25, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Sad this Zimbabwe situation.

    The administrators of Zimbabwe have to be told by the ICC unless they can sort out these problems and create a stable environment for cricket then they will have to be relegated from test match status.

    A lot of money is ploughed towards test nations. There are responsibilities that go with this.

    If a resolution is not found, it is time to bring in Ireland.

  • ZCF on November 22, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    Great job by ZC. Those custodians of the local game continue to fulfil their stewardship. Fine words applied by our colleagues here - "well done" & "good luck". Indeed they continue to soldier on against all odds. Firdose that's been the system for a very long time. Nothing new.

    Questions must be asked of Castle&Stanbic because we all know money is available! No doubt besides direct, unconditional financial sponsorship, Metbank (via board members Peter Chingoka&Ozias Bvute who are also current/former ZC leadership) did their best to assist ZC, at generous rates, with loans they did not qualify to borrow. They pushed things as far as possible, much to the displeasure of other shareholders who seek significant returns from their investment. How Croco Motors are surviving, and to who exactly in troubled Zimbabwe they sell cars to be able to sponsor cricket up to this point, is a welcome mystery. If only other able patriotic sources could chip in and receive the baton from those two.

  • Md on November 22, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    Good luck. From Sri Lanka..............

  • vivian on November 22, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    bravo zimcricket with all the difficulties you are still soildering on to keep the game in better shape

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