By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe’s Under-19 cricket team will become the first local side to feature in competitive cricket since the country’s suspension by the International Cricket Council (ICC) when they play four 50-over matches against South African academy and provincial youth sides starting on Monday.
The limited overs tour forms part of the national youth side’s preparations for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2020, which will be hosted by South Africa next year.
Action will get underway on Monday when the Zimbabwe Under-19s face the Titans Academy at Sinoville in Pretoria.
Next up for the Prosper Utseya-coached side will be a clash against the Northerns Under-19 team at the same venue on Wednesday, before the same sides meet again the following day at Hammanskraal.
The fourth and final match, against the Northerns Under-17 side, is pencilled in for Saturday, also at Hammanskraal.
The tour will give Utseya’s side the much-needed exposure to competitive cricket and the playing conditions in South Africa, hosts of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 starting in January.
“This tour is crucial in the sense that it gives us an opportunity to see and assess our boys as they play against more experienced teams,” Utseya said.
“It will also assist us in our selection process as we will be playing the World Cup in South Africa.”
The touring team includes three players – Wesley Madhevere, Nkosinathi Nungu and Dion Myers – who were at the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2018 in New Zealand.
Dane Schadendorf, who was a non-travelling reserve for the global youth tournament, is also part of the 16 players picked for the South Africa tour.
In January, Utseya also took his side to South Africa for the Momentum Provincial Cricket Week, before they hosted Nigeria in Harare in March.
Zimbabwe Under-19 squad:
Emmanuel Bawa, Wesley Madhevere, Dion Myers, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Luke Oldknow, Dane Schardendorf, Sakhumuzi Ndhlela, Rameez Ahmed, Privilege Chesa, Tadiwanashe Nyangani, Nkosinathi Nungu, Rodney Mufudza, Gareth Chirawu, Tadiwanashe Maravanyika, Kudakwashe Macheka, Taurai Tugwete