BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
THE uncertainty, which has surrounded the start of the domestic cricket season is finally over following confirmation that the 2019-2020 season is finally set to get underway on Thursday with the five franchise sides competing in all the three formats of the game.
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani, yesterday revealed that the new domestic season would kick off this week as local cricketers look to make up for lost time ahead of the visit by Sri Lanka next month.
“We had a setback as we waited for funds for salaries for the players and members of staff from the International Cricket Council, which meant a delay to that start of the season as the players and ZC employees had not been paid since June,” said Mukuhlani.
“But now everything has been sorted out and we’re looking forward to an exciting season ahead. With Sri Lanka touring early next year it’s important that the players get back on the field and start getting back to business on the field.”
The ZC boss said the release of the schedule for the new season was imminent as all the groundwork had already been laid for the new season to begin on Thursday.
“The director of cricket Hamilton Masakadza and the acting managing director Givemore Makoni have been finalising the logistics and an official announcement should be made soon. “However, I can confirm that the domestic season is set to get underway and we are looking at Thursday for the start of the first round of matches” he said.
The upcoming season will see the Alistair Campbell High Performance Programme Academy, who are known as Rangers, becoming the fifth franchise joining Tuskers, Mountaineers, Eagles and Rhinos as part of a restructuring exercise of domestic cricket.
The start of the domestic season was put on hold as ZC was waiting for funds from the International Cricket Council (ICC), following the recent lifting of a three-month ban by the global cricket body.
Funding was withheld by the ICC when Zimbabwe’s membership was suspended in July after the world cricket governing body had said the action taken by the Sports and Recreation Commission to suspend the ZC board in June amounted to government interference in the administration of the sport.
ZC relies on the funds from the ICC to bankroll their operations, including the domestic game.