Zimbabwe’s historic cricket tour to Australia confirmed

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Aaron Finch (right) will captain the Australia team during their ODI series against Zimbabwe which begins on August 28 in Townsville

Cricket Australia have confirmed the schedule for a three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe to begin towards the end of August this year.

Outside of the 2015 World Cup, the upcoming tour would be Zimbabwe’s first visit to Australia since taking part in a tri-series in 2004.

The limited-overs series was initially to have been played in mid-2020, according to the ICC men’s Future Tours Programme and was then rescheduled to last year, with the global pandemic putting paid to both those attempts.

As a result, the games have been scheduled for August 28-September 3 at Townsville’s Riverway Stadium which hosted ex-Test player Andrew Symonds’ memorial service last Friday.

Zimbabwe’s first tour Down Under for the first time in almost two decades will kick start a busy season for the Australians, who are also set to host New Zealand, West Indies and England in ODIs and T20I series before they welcome the rest of the world for the ICC T20 World Cup between October and November.

The marathon schedule will continue into the new year with more ODIs and Tests against England, West Indies and South Africa.

The ODI series against Zimbabwe is part of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, which forms the qualifying format for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup.

The Chevrons, who rarely get an opportunity to play the cricket giants, were hoping to use their upcoming tour as an opportunity to play red-ball cricket in Australia.

However, the request for a one-off Test match was rebuffed while even requests to have more white-ball matches over and above the three Super league matches were turned down, a decision which has reportedly baffled the Zimbabwe Cricket authorities.

The ODIs against Zimbabwe and New Zealand in northern Queensland are unlikely to feature a full-strength Australia side with a handful of players having deals in the Hundred which runs in England until early September while some may also be rested.

Zimbabwe’s tour of Australia will come a few weeks after India for an ODI series in August.

Just like the series against Australia, India’s visit to Zimbabwe had been postponed twice previously due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is preparing to host Afghanistan for three ODIs and as many Twenty20 encounters early next month.

The three T20Is will count towards the ICC T20I rankings and Zimbabwe’s preparations of the ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers in July, whereas the ODIs will be part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League.

Zimbabwe sit in position 12 of the 13-team league with three wins from their first 12 matches and would need to finish in the top seven to get an automatic ticket to the World Cup which will be hosted by India.

Afghanistan are in fifth position with an impressive seven wins from nine matches.

Australis’s ODI Series Schedule v Zimbabwe

Sunday, Aug 28: Riverway Stadium, Townsville

Wednesday, Aug 31: Riverway Stadium, Townsville

Saturday, Sep 3: Riverway Stadium, Townsville

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