Nesisa Mpofu

Bulawayo gears for Cricket World Cup

Fungai Muderere
THE Bulawayo Junior Council in conjunction with Zimbabwe Cricket and Bulawayo Metropolitan Cricket Association will on Saturday carry out a clean-up exercise meant to spruce up the city ahead of the forthcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup qualifiers.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Tuskers players are also expected to participate in the clean-up that will start at Queens Sports Club and spread to other parts of the city.

The campaign will be held under the theme a�?My City, My Responsibilitya�?.

B-Metro Sport is reliably informed that invites to take part in the clean-up exercise were also set to be sent to Bulawayoa��s three Premier Soccer League sides Highlanders, Chicken Inn and Bulawayo City.

However, by the time of going to press, the football clubs had not received their respective invites.

a�?The Bulawayo Junior Council (2017-2018) in partnership with Zimbabwe Cricket and Matabeleleland Tuskers will be holding a clean-up campaign on Saturday. The clean-up campaign is meant to titivate the City of Bulawayo in preparation for the 2018 Cricket World Cup qualifiers to be held in the city from 3 to 15 March,a�? said Bulawayo City Council (BCC) senior public relations officer Nesisa Mpofu.

The 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup contest is scheduled for 2 to 25 March in Bulawayo, Harare and Kwekwe and preparations are on for the qualifiers at Queens Sports Club and Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC).

Expectations are that the touch-ups would be complete before the start of the tournament.

The refurbishment work is on both the turf and other facilities like the spectators seating areas, playersa�� dressing rooms and media centres.

Queens Sports Club has been closed for at least two months to allow ground curators to work on the field.

Queens Sports Club is one of five venues that will be used for the qualifiers to choose two teams that will join the top eight ICC ODI rankings at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in the United Kingdom.

Takashinga Cricket Club in Harare and the Old Mutual Heath Streak Academy in Bulawayo will be used as practice venues.

The big-name players such as Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine could be playing in Zimbabwe after the West Indies failed to gain direct entry to the main tournament.

They will be joined by the bottom three ranked ICC ODI nations Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Ireland as well as the top four sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and top two from the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 will take part in the qualifiers.

Other venues that the ICC inspected and approved last August, include Harare Sports Club, Takashinga in Highfield, Harare, Bulawayo Athletic Club and Kwekwe Sports Club.

Bangladesh were initially scheduled to host the event, but qualified directly to the tournament proper due to their world ranking.

Ireland, the UAE and Scotland were also vying to have the matches played in their countries, but Zimbabwe was given the nod after ICC chairperson Shashank Manohar visited the country in August.

Hosting the World Cup Qualifiers has been seen as a boost to Zimbabwe Cricket as they try to resurrect the sport in the country.

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