Zimbabwe Under-19 team coach Prosper Utseya has lamented the lack of adequate preparations for his side due to disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic ahead of his team’s participation in the 2022 ICC Under-19 World Cup in the West Indies.
The Zimbabwean teenage cricket starlets, who are in Group C together with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea left the country on Sunday for the global competition which runs from January 14 to February 5.
However, Utseya highlighted the challenges his side has faced in their preparations for the global showpiece.
The Zimbabwe players have hardly played any consistent competitive cricket over the last two seasons following the cancellation of local schools cricket competitions for the past two seasons due to Covid-19 while preparatory tours to neighbouring South Africa were also culled.
“We have done our best under the circumstances because there has not been any schools cricket for the last two years. I can’t say we are adequately prepared,” Utseya told Sunday News.
“They have only played cricket when we had camps, we have not had the full squad throughout the camp, even the technical department has not been able to be there all the time. These players are lacking game time and we don’t know how they will do when we play internationals,” said Utseya.
The local side which is scheduled to arrive in Barbados on Monday will play a triangular series against Ireland and the United States of America, where the three teams will play each other twice before taking on Canada and Bangladesh in official warm-up matches.
Zimbabwe secured a 11th place finish at the last tournament in South Africa, which meant that they secured automatic qualification for this year’s event.
They will be aiming to finish inside the top 11 in order to avoid going through the qualification process for the 2024 World Cup.
The Utseya-coached team is captained by Emmanuel Bawa and has another former Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura in its technical team.
Bawa is the only survivor of the 2020 expedition.
Zimbabwe Under-19 squad: Emmanuel Bawa (captain), Brian Bennett (vice-captain), David Bennett, Victor Chirwa, Mgcini Dube, Alex Falao, Tendekai Mataranyika, Tashinga Makoni, Connor Mitchell, Steven Saul, Matthew Schonken, Panashe Taruvinga, Matthew Welch, Rogan Wolhuter, Ngenyasha Zvinoera
Non- travelling reserves: Aisha Chibanda, Tanaka Zvaita, Luyanda Mtomba, Tadiwanashe Mwale, Declan Rugg
Head coach: Prosper Utseya
Batting coach: Elton Chigumbura
Team manager: Dilip Chouhan
Physiotherapist: Anesu Mupotaringa
Convener of selectors: Moses Chitare