ZC keen on re-engaging England

HARARE - Zimbabwe is hopeful of re-igniting cricket bilateral ties with its former colony Britain that will see them end a 10-year hiatus since their last engagement in 2008.

The England cricket team pulled out of a planned Zimbabwe tour in 2008 at the advice of the UK government and since then there has never been any bilateral visits between the two countries.

Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Faisal Hasnain is optimistic that one day Harare and the United Kingdom will be able to bury the hatchet and enjoy sound cricket relations again and as part of that long road to unlocking the goal, in 2016 the locals played against Scotland.

“We have been interacting with the ECB and while I don’t think that a match against England is on the cards in the near future, the doors have started opening.

“We visited Scotland, as you know Scotland is under Westminster, we played them in Scotland in 2016, our Academy boys the Rising Stars were in the UK last year and again the ECB helped us facilitate some of the arrangements,” Hasnain told the Daily News.

The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough which also holds city status. It occupies much of the central area of Greater London including most of the West End.

“This year we will have Ireland and Scotland at the Qualifiers. If the board meeting takes place in April in Zimbabwe then obviously we will have representatives from the ECB coming here.

“I think all of this is hopefully leading to some kind of doors opening to make cricket easier,” Faisal added.

“We would like to talk to the ECB or the Counties if maybe a County cricket side can come here for practice before the start of the next Country cricket season, they can come here and practice...we have the facilities, we have wonderful weather...our doors are open I hope it leads to something in the future at least the dialogue is there.”

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is set to host the World Cup Qualifiers in March, their last hope of making it to the England and Wales 2019 World Cup and hard on the heels of the tournament, they will also host an ICC board meeting in April in Victoria Falls.

“The ICC meeting again I think it’s a wonderful thing where effectively the top administrators of world cricket are collecting in one place here in Zimbabwe to meet and decide on some very important matters,” Hasnain said.

“Again it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase the facilities, the hospitality- what Zimbabwe has to offer.

“I think it also demonstrates that the ICC and members of the board of ICC have again shown thumps up to Zimbabwe and are happy with the way ZC is progressing and it’s tantamount to basically giving ZC another seal of approval in its journey forward.

“There are milestones that we will have to overcome but we are very pleased at this development and we would like to thank ICC for having the confidence in us...it shows that they are confident that things are going in the right direction and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for us.”

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