Belfast Telegraph

Cricket: Ireland eye trip back to Zimbabwe

By Ian Callender

Ireland could be making a return visit to Zimbabwe as early as next year following talks between Cricket Ireland and Zimbabwe Cricket officials in Harare this week.

Both CI chairman David Williams and chief executive Warren Deutrom made the trip to Zimbabwe and Williams confirmed yesterday that the bilateral talks had taken place as the Ireland squad prepared for their final match in the country.

“The bilateral agreement is to travel to Zimbabwe in 2011 but we would like the opportunity of repaying the hospitality and hosting Zimbabwe in Ireland sometime in the near future,” said Williams.

“We have enjoyed our tour, received the most excellent hospitality and from a cricket point of view while it has been disappointing to lose the first two ODIs we have proven we can measure up to the lower ranked full members and we look forward to expanding our relationship with Zimbabwe.

“We (Williams and Deutrom) came out to show our support for the Irish team for what could have been a difficult tour — it has transpired that it hasn’t been — but we were most anxious not to send the players out, and for us to see what conditions were like from the comfort of our office in Dublin.”

The relationship with Zimbabwe is also a vital step in getting Irish cricket another step up the world ladder, said the chairman.

“We are sparing absolutely no effort in seeking support for our elevation to some form of enhanced membership, while recognising that Full membership and Test status is probably some distance away,” added Williams.

“But getting onto the one-day Future Tours Programme is one of our goals although progress has been slow and that is why we are most grateful to Zimbabwe Cricket for giving us this opportunity.”

Ireland need to win today’s final ODI between the countries to stay in 10th place.

Belfast Telegraph

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