CRICKET’S COLD WAR ENDS

Blessing Malinganiza

ONE of the longest Cold Wars in the history of international cricket is over.

Zimbabwe Cricket and the England and Wales Cricket Board have renewed ties with the confirmed Test match between England and Zimbabwe scheduled for 2025 setting the tone for the re-engagement efforts.

This will be the first time these two countries meet since 2003 with a four-day Test match scheduled for May 28-31 breaking the ice.

This historic tour follows discussions between Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to forge closer relations after over a decade of “animosity”.

Recent events have seen English County sides flocking Zimbabwe for bilateral engagements with various developments side and franchise teams.

Durham and Glamorgan were the latest English sides to tour Zimbabwe in March this year.

The recent Zim Afro T10 tournament saw the England World Cup winning captain, Eoin Morgan visit Harare as the skipper of the Harare Hurricanes side.

Morgan expressed misgivings over England’s inability to play in and against Zimbabwe during his illustrious career.

“The experience has been amazing… it’s more of a first time in Zimbabwe. England didn’t tour here while I played, 16 or so years that I played so it’s been a great experience for me,” Morgan told reporters during his stint with Harare Hurricanes at Harare Sports Club.

“Off the field, the people have been absolutely loving, very welcoming, very excited, very delighted that a tournament has got a lot of international calibre of players, particularly current players and this ground is just wonderful.”

And yesterday, ZC Managing Director Givemore Makoni, who has been instrumental in stitching games for the association, confirmed the positive developments.

“We are absolutely delighted to be playing bilateral cricket in England for the first time in over two decades after we agreed to play a Test match in May 2025,” Makoni said.

“The significance and magnitude of this tour cannot be overemphasised, and I would like to say a huge thank you to the ECB for committing to the resumption of cricketing relations between our countries that date back to the introduction of the game in Zimbabwe in the 1890s.

“The experience of playing a Test match against a top team like England is massive for the current generation of our players, coming at a time when our game as a whole is on an upward trajectory.

“This will be a historic tour for everyone involved with cricket in Zimbabwe and we are already looking forward to some exciting action on the field of play.”

ECB Chief Executive Richard Gould said: “We are delighted to be able to host Zimbabwe for a men’s Test match for the first time in two decades.

“Zimbabwe has a proud cricket history and has produced world-class players and coaches who have enriched the game across the world.

“We are committed to developing a closer relationship with Zimbabwe Cricket and the announcement of this Test against our England men’s team is a step in that ambition.”

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