Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THE much-awaited domestic first-class cricket season gets underway on Thursday with two Logan Cup fixtures lined up in Harare.
Five franchises will compete in the country’s domestic first-class structure – new kids on the block Rangers, Eagles, Tuskers, Rhinos and Mountaineers. Rangers were born out of the Alistair Campbell Academy.
At a planning meeting held in Harare attended by general managers of the franchises last Friday, it emerged that the season commencement is scheduled for Thursday. Eagles face Rhinos at Harare Sports Club (HSC) in a Logan Cup fixture while Mountaineers clash with Tuskers at Old Hararians (OH) with both matches to run from 12 to 15 December.
Rangers are in action against Eagles at HSC from 18 to 21 December, the same time that Rhinos take on Mountaineers at OH.
Zimbabwe Cricket media and communications manager, Darlington Majonga said it was correct that the season is starting on Thursday, with the cricket mother body to release the complete schedule of matches today.
“I can confirm we are starting on Thursday with Logan Cup matches lined up. We will be releasing the full fixtures on Monday,” Majonga said.
According to the draft fixtures, the Logan Cup will go to the middle of February. From there, the action shifts to the shorter formats of the game. It is understood that two English county teams will be touring the country to play a Zimbabwe Select and the President XI in mostly three-day as they prepare for their own domestic season which starts in April.
Club cricket has been taking place in most parts of the country while players were waiting for the start of the first-class season.
Meanwhile, Tuskers general manager, Nicholas Singo has informed all the franchise’s players to report for training at Queens Sports Club this morning.
“Due to the approval of the fixtures by the ZC board, can all Tuskers players assemble on Monday for practice in the morning at 9am at Queens. Meanwhile Pollock will be assisting with coaching until further notice,’’ Singo said.
Pollock Mubobo will take charge of the team’s preparations for the Logan Cup with Harare based Douglas Hondo to take over when the team gets to the capital city.
Last season, Tuskers had a torrid time in the Logan Cup in which they failed to record a win. They, however, upped their game in the shorter versions in which they were beaten in the 50 over final by Eagles before they won the T20 domestic competition.