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April 17, 2012
South Africa's five T20s against Zimbabwe in Harare in June may not be televised as Zimbabwe Cricket is unlikely to be able to afford the costs involved. The matches will be played between June 20 and 24, in accordance with South Africa's request earlier this year. The tour is an addition to the Zimbabwe board's planned budget, which will impact on its ability to provide television coverage.
"It will cost us a lot of money to get a broadcast deal and because this was not part of our initial plans, we have not budgeted for it," Ozias Bvute, managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket, told ESPNcricinfo. "But South Africa are our neighbours and they requested this from us, so we will host the matches. As long as it is cost neutral, we can make it happen." So far, the only costs Zimbabwe Cricket will incur are the South Africa team's hotel expenses.
Zimbabwe's board is on a tight budget and made a loss on all three incoming tours hosted during the 2011-12 season. It remains committed to seeking out more competition as part of the plan to re-establish the team at Test level and will likely also host an A tour later in the winter.
The five T20s will not be recognised as internationals but have instead been given practice match status because the visit is not part of the Future Tours Programme. They were organised on special request after Gary Kirsten, South Africa's coach, asked to play more 20-over fixtures before the World Twenty20 in September. All five fixtures will be played in the afternoon to "accommodate the shorter daylight hours", according to Zimbabwe Cricket.
South Africa will arrive in Harare on June 18 and play one practice game before the back-to-back engagements start on June 20. South Africa have not been to Zimbabwe since August 2007, for an ODI series, and are not scheduled to play Tests against their neighbours until 2014, although they have sent various A teams to play first-class matches and in tri-series, as well as hosted Zimbabwe in 2010.
The South Africa visit will mark the end of a five-month break for Zimbabwe, who last played in early February on their tour of New Zealand. Zimbabwe do not have any international engagements over the winter but are due to host Bangladesh in the 2012-13 season.
South Africa and Zimbabwe are in the same group for the World T20, which also includes Sri Lanka. South Africa have not won an ICC trophy since 1998 and Kirsten has been tasked with changing that.
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