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January 26, 2010
The shake-up of Zimbabwe's domestic structure is set to continue with the news that this year's domestic Twenty20 competition will be run by Harare-based sports event management company Dominus Sport. It appears that while Dominus Sport has the sole mandate to stage the competition, ZC remains the governing body and Dominus Sport will work within the ZC domestic structure.
The nine-day domestic Twenty20 cup starts on February 12 and will be staged solely in Harare. In addition to the five domestic franchises, Namibia have been invited to take part as the sixth side in the competition. The Namibian team is expected to arrive in Zimbabwe on February 10, two days prior to the start of the tournament.
"Twenty20 cricket has gained popularity around the world and has carved out a niche market for itself," said ZC managing director Ozias Bvute. "We saw the need to be innovative in our approach to increasing cricket audiences here in Zimbabwe and decided to enter into a partnership with Dominus Sport. I am confident that this relationship will result in the growth of cricket as a mass-market sport and entertainment alternative."
The revamping of Zimbabwe's provincial structure began with the creation of the five regional franchises last year, as was recommended by an ICC report into the country's cricketing infrastructure. The ZC Board resolved to commercialise its various domestic competitions at a general meeting in Bulawayo in August 2009, although the 2009-10 Twenty20 competition will be the first to be run by a separate company.
Apart from the final between Westerns and Northerns, last year's domestic Twenty20 competition suffered from poor spectator attendances and struggled to arouse interest from the media, and it remains to be seen whether these latest changes will garner more attention.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.