ZIMBABWE CRICKET convener of selectors Tatenda Taibu says he wants to turn the 16 boys being dispatched for training to the United Kingdom into men in six months.
The first batch of players is expected to fly out tomorrow while the second and final lots will leave as soon as visas are issued.
“Provisionally, the rest of the players should travel on the 29th of this month. Most likely it will be earlier,” said Taibu.
The 33–year-old former Chevrons skipper reckons a change of environment will help get the best out of the Academy players.
“The two major aims of having this in the UK are, one game time … I should be able to get each player to play at least 40 matches within the six months. Number two is exposure because a player only knows how to do something in a way if he is not exposed to another way.”
The Zimbabwe Academy team will be coached by Taibu’s childhood friend and former Zimbabwe teammate Stuart Matsikenyeri.
The squad contains four players – Tarisai Musakanda, Carl Mumba, Richard Ngarava and Ryan Burl – who have already been capped at international level.
So is this the future national cricket team?
“We have not made plans that so many players will make the national team, it’s a process and we will see how it goes. However, there are players that are already in the national side in the academy and they will definitely be better than they are now, that I can assure you. They will also learn a lot about life,” said Taibu.
Zimbabwe Academy will play against England Cricket Board Premier League representative sides as part of an intensive programme aimed at preparing for tougher assignments.
“We will be playing in an Asian league every Wednesday and we hope to see improvements in how the guys play spin.
All the other matches are Counties first and second teams, universities and academies,” added Taibu.
Zimbabwe Academy Squad
Ryan Burl, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Taffy Mupariwa (wk), Tafadzwa Tsiga (wk), Tarisai Musakanda,