LAHORE-Pakistan will launch its ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League campaign by hosting Zimbabwe for a three-match ODI series in October-November, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Wednesday. 

The series will feature three One-Day Internationals (ODIs), followed by as many Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), and begins on October 30. The ICC has introduced the Super League to provide context to ODI cricket and will serve as a qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 with the top seven sides automatically booking their spots for the India event. Featuring 13 teams, the 12 Test playing countries and the Netherlands, the Super League will see each side play four home and four away three-match series. 

PCB Director International Cricket, Zakir Khan said: “The confirmation of the series schedule against Zimbabwe after having successfully hosted Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, as well as Marylebone Cricket Club and HBL Pakistan Super League V, in the 2019-20 season not only strengthens Pakistan’s reputation as a safe and secure country but also a healthy one after having successfully overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This series is critical to Pakistan as it aspires to qualify directly for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 and, as such, every point in the Super League will count. Our last ODI series was against Sri Lanka, 12 months ago, so the boys will have to hit the ground running and try to pocket maximum points. “We have strategically scheduled Zimbabwe’s matches in Multan and Rawalpindi, the venues which will be hosting the National T20 Cup from 30 September to 18 October. By the time Zimbabwe arrives, we would have gained enough experience on bio-securing hotels, player transportation, the venues and the players’ dressing rooms as delivery of this series will be under strict Covid-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of all participants.”

Zimbabwe will carry a 32-member squad to cater for both the formats as well as for the intra-squad warm-up matches. The squad will undergo two Covid-19 tests within a space of 48 hours prior to their departure in Harare, while the second tests will be conducted as soon as they arrive in Islamabad. Players and Player Support Personnel testing negative in Islamabad will be eligible to resume training at a venue, which the PCB will confirm in due course. Players and player support personnel testing positive during the tour will have to observe a five-day self-isolation and will only be allowed to re-integrate with the side after two negative tests. The series will be played behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZV) chairman Tavenga Mukuhlani also confirmed that their government granted permission to the ZC to travel to Pakistan for their proposed white-ball tour next month. “We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to our Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, the Honourable Kirsty Coventry, the SRC (Sports and Recreation Commission) and the entire Government of Zimbabwe for authorising the tour,” said Mukuhlani. 

“Needless to say, we at Zimbabwe Cricket are bursting with excitement as we look forward to playing cricket again and representing our nation with pride and passion in Pakistan,” he added. Zimbabwe cricket team has already begun preparations for the tour and a 25-member provisional squad has been called up for a training camp, which began in Harare on 22 September.

Series Schedule

 

Oct 20           Zimbabwe arrive in Islamabad

Oct 30              1st ODI               Multan

Nov 1               2nd ODI              Multan

Nov 3               3rd ODI               Multan

Nov 4             Travel to Islamabad

Nov 7               1st T20I         Rawalpindi

Nov 8               2nd T20I        Rawalpindi

Nov 10             3rd T20I         Rawalpindi

Nov 11          Zimbabwe depart for Harare