Afghanistan's Zimbabwe tour cancelled
Afghanistan's tour to Zimbabwe has been cancelled, ESPNcricinfo has learned. The Associate country was due to visit the African nation later this month for a handful of ODIs and Twenty20s but financial concerns in Zimbabwe have made the tour untenable. Zimbabwe were reportedly seeking to play the matches in Bangladesh but that plan too has been scuppered.
A source close to Zimbabwe Cricket revealed that the "demands of domestic cricket led to the cancellation of the tour." Zimbabwe's domestic players have been on strike since late December due to non-payment. The players have insisted they will not take the field until they receive their salaries, which means there is no fixed date for the resumption of the first-class league.
Zimbabwe Cricket is in severe financial crisis and sources close to the board have revealed they have asked the ICC for yet another loan. A planned visit by Sri Lanka in October 2013 had already been postponed on ZC's request because of a lack of funds.
However, Afghanistan were to bear their logistics expenses in Zimbabwe on their own, so the cancellation seems to be indicative of a wider problem. Zimbabwe's domestic players are on strike due to non-payment of their dues by the board. They did not play the last round of first-class matches before the Christmas break and the indications are they will take the field this year only after they are paid.
With Afghanistan's trip being called off, Zimbabwe will have no practice before the World Twenty20 in March. They would have gone almost six months without any cricket, having last played Pakistan in September. Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor tweeted on Friday evening that the team needed to get practicing, keeping the World T20 in mind.
2 months before we travel to Bangladesh for the T20 world cup. Lets get training— Brendan Taylor (@BrendanTaylor86) January 9, 2014
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent