By Sports Reporter
DURHAM Cricket have become the latest top English County Cricket Championship side club to commit to touring Zimbabwe for their preseason tour, joining Glamorgan, who will be coming to Harare next month.
The three-time English County Championship winners revealed in a statement, Sunday that they will be returning to the Southern African nation after their initial visit three years ago was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Durham squad will be based in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe and will spend nineteen days comprising of matches and warm weather training. The squad will fly out on Wednesday 1st March, taking on Glamorgan in a three-day red ball fixture in addition to three T20 fixtures and two 50-over matches against Zimbabwean opposition,” Durham said in a statement.
Former Australian first-class cricketer Marcus North, who is Durham’s director of cricket thanked Zimbabwe Cricket for extending another invitation to them after their initial brief visit in 2020.
“We are extremely excited to be returning back to Zimbabwe for our pre-season tour after receiving an invitation from Zimbabwe Cricket,” North said.
“Having had a small glimpse back in 2020 we are looking forward to having a full tour this time around.
“Our players and staff will gain valuable experience along with match preparation against quality opposition leading into our summer.
“As our successful winter training is coming to a close this tour will provide fantastic preparation for the lads.”
The visit by the two English county teams is being seen as a major boost for the relations between Zimbabwe Cricket and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The two countries’ relationship has long proved thorny due to strained political ties during the latter years of the reign of Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe.
The two countries have not played each other bilaterally since 2004 – and not at all since September 2007, when they had met in the inaugural ICC World T20 – although Zimbabwe’s political situation is different since Mugabe was ousted from power in 2017.