West Indies Cricket team, the Windies received a rousing welcome at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare on Sunday evening as they became the first team to arrive for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 set for 4-25 March in Zimbabwe.
A traditional dance group put on a splendid, energetic show at the airport, with dozens of local cricket fans singing and dancing along, while members of the Local Organising Committee and government representatives received the Caribbean side.
“We are really excited to be here. It’s a lovely place,” Windies captain Jason Holder said on arrival in Harare.
The Caribbean side arrived with a delegation of 18 players and officials, with eight other members of their squad, including Chris Gayle, expected to land in Harare on Monday.
“The last time we came here we had great success and hopefully in this tour we’ll have success again and qualify for the 2019 World Cup,” Holder said.
“We are well supported here . . . the fans here adore cricket, they are big cricket fans, they love us and we love them so we have come here to put on a really good show for them, entertain them and make them happy.”
Ten sides will take part in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018, to battle it out for the two remaining places in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The Windies, along with Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe, had missed out on automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 by finishing outside the top eight on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings at the 30 September 2017 cut-off date.
These four sides have been joined by Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates in the qualifier event.
The Windies, Ireland, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and the UAE make up Group A, while Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Hong Kong and Nepal form Group B.
Each side will play the other teams in their group once with the top three from the groups progressing to the Super Six stage. The teams each play three Super Six matches against the sides they did not meet in the group stage. All points won in the groups will be carried over to the Super Six stage apart from those gained against the bottom two from each group.
The finalists will both progress to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.