LOCAL cricket franchise Matabeleland Tuskers have begun earnest preparations for the first class cricket season that starts next month, targeting two cups in the 2016/17 campaign.
The former Logan Cup champions have assembled a pool of 30 players who are preparing for the new season scheduled to commence in October.
An exact date when the first class cricket season will start is yet to be announced.
Stanley Staddon, the Matabeleland Tuskers Cricket Franchise chief executive officer, said: a�?The players have started training and the idea is to introduce about six young players in the squad and retain a majority of the senior players that we had last season.
a�?We want players from the Bulawayo Metropolitan and Matabeleland areas only, we are not looking at bringing players from other regions,a�? said Staddon.
After an intense month of training, coaches Wayne James and assistant Pollock Mubobo will present a final squad to the CEO who will in turn take it to the Matabeleland Tuskers Cricket Franchise board for approval.
a�?When the board approves the final list then we will be in a position to know which players have been given full contracts, sub contracts and earn as you play contracts. For now pre-season training will continue for the better part of September,a�? he said.
Captain Tawanda Mupariwa is most likely to be retained as skipper together with seasoned players that include John Nyumbu, wicketkeeper Cunningham Ncube, Christopher Mpofu, Stephen Cunningham, Keith Dabengwa, Mbekezeli Mabuza and Bonaparte Mujuru.
The Bulawayo based team is optimistic of a trophy-laden season.
a�?We won the Logan Cup a number of times in the past and we want to take our performance back to that level. A target of at least a cup or two is a realistic one,a�? he added.