By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) has taken a major step towards professionalising women’s cricket in the country after announcing the list of centrally contracted players for the 2022-2023 season.
The local cricket governing body retained 19 players in total, with skipper Mary-Anne Musonda, and senior players Josephine Nkomo and Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano all given the top A+ contracts.
The multi-talented duo of Precious Marange, who also plays for the national rugby team and veteran opening batter and hockey umpire, Sharne Mayers, are among the three players on Grade A contracts alongside Modester Mupachikwa.
The duo of Nomvelo Sibanda and Loreen Tshuma, who have excelled since breaking into the national side, have been awarded Grade B contracts.
A total of 11 players are on Grade C contracts.
Zimbabwe Cricket’s director of cricket, Blessing Masakadza said the awarding of central contracts was a major morale booster for the team as they prepare for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier to be played in the United Arab Emirates next month.
“As part of our commitment to the growth and development of our women’s game, we are pleased to confirm the awarding of central contracts to a talented group of 19 players,” Masakadza said.
“We believe this will not only boost the morale of our players but will also allow them to fully focus on their game ahead of a crucial period for our national team, which includes participation at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2022 to be held in the United Arab Emirates in September.”
All the players named on the list of centrally contracted players are in Zimbabwe’s squad of 15 for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2022 to be held in the UAE from September 18-25.
The duo of Nkomo and Mupachikwa, who missed last month’s 18-day training camp in India due to club commitments in England have been included in the squad of 15.
Opening batter Kelis Ndhlovu (16) and Francisca Chipare, who made their T20I debuts during the tour to Namibia, have also made the cut in the squad which is led by the experienced Musonda.
Zimbabwe Women’s ongoing preparations for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2022 will continue with a tour to South Africa where they will play five Twenty20 matches against the South Africa Emerging Women team from August 28 to 31 in Pretoria.
After the tour of South Africa, the Lady Chevrons will then travel to the UAE on September 7 for a quadrangular series against Thailand Women, the United States of America (USA) Women and the hosts as part of their final preparations for the qualifying tournament.
Zimbabwe Women are in Group B alongside Thailand Women, Papua New Guinea Women and UAE Women.
Bangladesh Women, Ireland Women, Scotland Women and USA Women are in Group A.
The two teams that make it to the final will qualify for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 to be held in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Under-19 Women’s squad are currently in camp in preparation for the first-ever ICC Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup to be held in South Africa in January next year.
Zimbabwe Women Squad: Mary-Anne Musonda (captain), Modester Mupachikwa, Kelis Ndhlovu, Sharne Mayers, Josephine Nkomo, Precious Marange, Christabel Chatonzwa, Loreen Tshuma, Loryn Phiri, Nomvelo Sibanda, Esther Mbofana, Pellagia Mujaji, Audrey Mazvishaya, Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano, Francisca Chipare.