Zimbabwe to host World Cup qualifiers in March


Zimbabwe will host the qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup in March next year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed on Friday.

The African nation were given hosting rights at an ICC board meeting that was held in Auckland this week.

Bangladesh were initially scheduled to host the event but Asian side have qualified directly to the tournament proper due to their world ranking.

Ireland, the UAE and Scotland were also vying to have the matches played in their countries but Zimbabwe was given the nod after ICC chairman Shashank Manohar visited the country in August.

The qualifiers will be a 10-team event with the top two sides getting entry into the tournament proper to be held in the UK in 2019.

Big-name players like Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine could be playing in Zimbabwe after the West Indies failed to gain direct entry into the main tournament.

The news will come as a boost to Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) as they try to resurrect the sport in the country.

Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis have recently returned to the international fold after giving up county contracts in England and are available for the Test series at home against the Windies later this month.

Zimbabwe also had a great tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year under coach Heath Streak. They won the ODI series and fell just short in the one-off Test.