Senior Sports Reporter
AFTER missing the ship to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India, Zimbabwe and Ireland appear to agree it is now time to reset their systems as they begin their white ball rivalry under floodlights at Harare Sports Club this evening.
The Chevrons, who will be playing in their first series after also failing to qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 in disastrous fashion recently in Namibia, have made changes to their team in the hope of turning around their fortunes ahead of the first T20I today. The match begins at 6pm.
Ireland are in Zimbabwe for three T20Is and as many One Day Internationals.
Both teams were not part of the jamboree during the ICC Cricket World Cup held in India recently and would want to forget the disappointment as quickly as possible as they look to reposition themselves for the future.
“Certainly for us, I think it’s a fresh start and I think, first and foremost, it was disappointing that we weren’t there but to be honest I think we have gotten over it,” Ireland captain Paul Stirling told journalists yesterday.
“It’s been quite a long time; since we have been in Zimbabwe for the qualifiers. We didn’t have the best time. So, I think in both formats, it’s a bit of a new start and for our players it’s sort of a building phase for us.
“We are going to go to the T20 World Cup in the not so distant future in the USA and the Caribbean and that’s probably the start of our process in T20,” said Stirling.
Unlike the Irish, Zimbabwe will not be going to any World Cup any time soon and the recent debacle in the T20 World Cup qualifiers has dealt a huge dent on the nation’s confidence in the team.
Veteran batter Craig Ervine, who stood in for skipper Sikandar Raza at yesterday’s press conference, said the series against Ireland could not have come at a better time as they seek to make amends.
“Ireland are obviously a good side,” he said.
“They bring a lot of energy, a lot of unity and I think a lot of our guys will be really happy to be back in familiar conditions back home; playing in front of our home crowd. So I think everybody is looking forward to the series.”
Skipper Sikandar Raza, who has been playing in the Abu Dhabi T10 in the past few days, is expected home in time for the games.