Zimbabwe news December 29, 2014

Canada set for Zimbabwe trip

ESPNcricinfo staff

Canada will tour Zimbabwe early next year for four fifty-over matches which will form part of Zimbabwe's preparation for the 2015 World Cup and ahead of Canada's World Cricket League Division 2 campaign.

All the matches will take place at Harare Sports Club between January 6 and 12 and Zimbabwe will field an A squad, coached by former first-class player Shepherd Makunura. Stuart Matsikenyeri, who last played for Zimbabwe in 2012, is part of the squad.

The games will afford Zimbabwe's new coach, expected to be named later this week, an opportunity to assess candidates for the World Cup squad which must be named by January 7. Dav Whatmore, the former Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan coach, is the frontrunner for the job. Whatmore arrived in Harare late Sunday and hoped to seal the deal early this week.

He will inherit a team that has recently returned from an 8-0 blanking in Bangladesh after losing all three Tests and five ODIs and which has little more than a month to prepare for the World Cup. Should Whatmore get the job, he will hold a training camp in Dubai, where it may be possible for other warm-up fixtures to be arranged in addition to the Canada fixtures.

Canada, who lost ODI status in February, have never toured Zimbabwe and only played against them twice. They lost both games - one a tri-series fixture in Port-of-Spain in 2006 and the other a group stage match at the 2011 World Cup - although those matches were against a full Zimbabwe international side and not an A team.

Canada failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup but will use the visit to Zimbabwe as preparation for their WCL Division Two tournament which will take place in Namibia from January 17 to 24.

There, Canada will play the hosts, Kenya, Netherlands, Nepal and Uganda with winner going through to the Intercontinental Cup and the World Cricket League Championship, which would be a step to regaining their ODI badge.

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