Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THE United Arab Emirates are expected in the country today for the four-match One Day International series which the hosts have dedicated to Cyclone Idai relief efforts. Friends on-and-off the pitch, Zimbabwe and the government of UAE have worked hand-in-hand in recent weeks after heavy storms left nearly 300 people dead and several others in dire circumstances in the eastern parts of the country.
And Zimbabwe Cricket, who have since donated groceries, blankets and sanitary ware, have announced the proceeds from the third ODI which will be played next Sunday will go towards the cyclone relief efforts.
“As Zimbabwe Cricket we have been playing our part in the relief efforts and for that reason we have dedicated all match proceeds for the third ODI towards the cyclone victims.
“We chose that particular game because it falls on a Sunday when we hope to get many cricket fans coming through since it will be a weekend.
“So people should come, not only to support their team to beat the UAE but also to play their part in the relief efforts,” said ZC spokesperson Darlington Majonga.
UAE have been one of the frontline countries in response to the Cyclone Idai disaster in Zimbabwe. Their cricket team is expected today in the back of a busy schedule that saw them play Australia in a one-off T20 and lower division sides that include Nepal, Hong Kong, Singapore, United States of America and Oman in the last seven months.
This will the first time ever the UAE will play a Full Member country in a bilateral series. The first ODI gets underway next Wednesday with the second match scheduled for Friday.
The third ODI will take place on April 14 and the last match two days later. Harare Sports Club will host all the matches.
Zimbabwe have since picked a 27-man training squad which has been in camp for the last two weeks.
Apart from playing for the victims of Cyclone Idai, it will be also an opportunity to revenge for the World Cup disappointment when the Chevrons fell to a shock defeat at the hands of the minnows in a decisive match during the Qualifier they hosted last year.
Apart from experienced campaigners such as captain Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis and Elton Chigumbura, the squad also includes the uncapped trio of Ainsley Ndlovu, Charles Kunje and Tony Munyonga, who have been rewarded for their impressive performances during the just-ended domestic season.
Outstanding performances in franchise cricket have also seen Roy Kaia, Timycen Maruma, Richmond Mutumbami, Natsai M’shangwe and Regis Chakabva earning call-ups to the national side.
All-rounder Raza indicated he would buy 50 tickets per game in the series, which would be given out for free to fans as his contribution to the cyclone relief efforts and his Brendon Taylor, PJ Moor, and Kyle Jarvis pledged to match the donation.
Several Zimbabwe players have since said they will buy tickets to give to supporters to support the scheme. But before the series takes off, the UAE will first face Zimbabwe A in a 50-over warm-up match at Old Hararians on Monday.
Source : The Herald