Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE cricket legend Heath Streak yesterday said the future of international cricket lies in developing young players as he unveiled the 2018 edition of the Splash President’s Afro-Asia Cup currently underway at Old Hararians. The Under-14 cricket tournament, which started in 2015 as the Africa Cup, has been growing in leaps and bounds and this year it has attracted teams from beyond the continent by bringing in the India academy side.
South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia are also taking part in the tournament that has been dubbed “Zimbabwe’s youth IPL”.
The tournament is the brainchild of the former Zimbabwe captain and coach, through his Heath Streak International Trust.
Organisers announced that the event is held this year in honour of President Mnangagwa.
Streak, who is known for his passion for development, said the tournament is a platform for youth cricketers to grow their talents and to prepare them for the big stage.
“We started in 2015 as an Africa Cup. We won it. Our kids need to develop by getting the opportunity to play different academies from different countries.
“So we began with African countries and the popularity is growing so much that we started getting inquiries from people outside of Africa like the Indian Academy that has joined us this year.
“It’s great for our boys and for them to get the exposure against people from different cultures and different countries it’s great for their evolution and development of their game.
“It’s an opportunity to see how we are doing in comparison to other academies in other countries for example South Africa which is a very successful cricketing nation. So when you play them it is a good barometer to see where we are at.
“Teams like Namibia and Tanzania are emerging countries in the cricketing world and it’s great for them to get to tour around the world, which they probably don’t do much of, and to see cricket outside their own backyard.
‘‘I think it’s a great tournament to get exposure at various levels,” said Streak.
The tournament kicked off at the weekend with four games being played every day.
The top two teams at the end of the round robin clashes will meet in the final tomorrow.
Tournament sponsors Splash Paints pledged to continue supporting youth cricket tournament when they unveiled the trophy yesterday.
The chief executive and partner of the Heath Streak International Cricket Trust, Joseph Rego, said the President’s Afro-Asia Cricket Cup has the potential to turn into an Under-14 Cricket World Cup in future.