Fungayi Munyoro Sports Correspondent
LOCAL cricket fans continue to enjoy a flirtation with some of the world’s finest cricketers and expertise that comes with it when Mutare Sports Club hosts West Indies. Information gathered by Post Sport is that the cricket power house, West Indies are expected to come to Mutare for a pre-World Cup camp from February 18 to 25 before leaving for Harare to take part in world cup qualifiers scheduled for March 4 to 25. Manicaland cricket administrator Terry Nyakurimwa confirmed that there are plans to have West Indies but they are yet to communicate with their partners and stakeholders.
“We are planning to have West Indies from February 18 to 25. We are still to communicate with our partners and stakeholders,” said Nyakurimwa.
Hosting Windies is expected to raise the moral for Manicaland fans who last hosted a big team in 2009 when Zimbabwe hosted Afghanistan and more recently Kenya. Hosting Kenya stimulated the appetite of the fans and if West Indies comes it is going to be a boost. Meanwhile, visiting Kenya coach Thomas Odoyo Migai has hailed Zimbabwe A coach Shepherd Makunura for his success with the squad.
Kenya has to fight for a place in England in 2019. It has proved a hurdle too high as the Kenyans lost four of their five games they played at Mutare Sports Club. Kenya will have to play in the ICC World Cricket League Division Two in Namibia starting on February 8 for them to be able to play in the World Cup qualifiers in March.
Zim A won all their four one day games before losing the T20 game by seven wickets.
“Zimbabwe played good cricket and they outplayed us in all departments. It was a job well-done for Zim A coach Shepherd Makunura.
“Zim cricket standards have gone up. I once came and played in Zimbabwe in 2006. I think playing more international games have helped the team. They have really picked up their game. We played with a few guys here the likes of Brian Vitori, Chris Mpofu and Chamu Chibhabha; it is very good to see that the standards have gone up.
“The intensity in Zim has really helped us to prepare for the Namibia tour. Obvious the standards there are not going to be higher than in Zimbabwe. Cricket is all about basics and consistence. My boys will get better as we move around. We hope to take the momentum we have picked in Zimbabwe, to Namibia,” he said.
Having represented Kenya in the 1996 World Cup, Odoyo is regarded as the best ever bowler produced by Kenya on the international arena. Odoyo still hopes that Kenya will bounce back to join the international elite after losing the ODI status.
“What we are doing right now is to try and revive cricket after losing the One Day Game status. We have a lot of talented players and as you can see, we are trying to build a team with the youngsters. What we are lacking is structure and it is important that we have structures that will help our boys play competitive cricket.
“It is very possible that we can go back to those old days .The key would be to go into schools cricket, estate cricket, development cricket, and start again. If those things were done correctly and we had good, competitive cricket, we could bring back the crowd support,” said Odoyo.