Zimbabwe Under-19s reach South Africa for World Cup preps

Zimbabwe fans celebrate Peter Della Penna

Even as the wait continues for Zimbabwe's suspension to be discussed at the ICC board meeting - scheduled for October - the country's Under-19 squad has arrived in South Africa to play four 50-over matches against academy and youth sides. This tour is in preparation for the Under-19 World Cup, which will be hosted by South Africa in January 2020, and there is hope that by then Zimbabwe will have returned to international cricket.

Zimbabwe's senior men's and women's teams have been barred from taking part in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers this year under the terms of the suspension. There was uncertainty over the senior men's team's trip to Bangladesh for a T20 tri-series in September before Zimbabwe Cricket confirmed the side's participation earlier this month.

"This tour is crucial in the sense that it gives us an opportunity to see and assess our boys as they play against more experienced teams," Prosper Utseya, the Under-19 coach, said. "It will also assist us in our selection process as we will be playing the World Cup in South Africa."

The touring squad includes three players - Wesley Madhevere, Nkosinathi Nungu and Dion Myers - who were at the Under-19 World Cup last year in New Zealand. Dane Schadendorf, who was a non-travelling reserve for that tournament, is also part of the 16 players picked for the South Africa tour. Their first match will be against Titans Academy at Sinoville in Pretoria on Monday. They will then play Northerns Under-19s at the same venue on Wednesday, before the same sides meet again the following day at Hammanskraal. The fourth and final match, against Northerns Under-17s, is scheduled for Saturday, also at Hammanskraal.

The tour marks the side's second trip to South Africa this year. In January, they took part in the Momentum Provincial Cricket Week, before they hosted Nigeria in Harare in March.

Zimbabwe Under-19 squad: Emmanuel Bawa, Wesley Madhevere, Dion Myers, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Luke Oldknow, Dane Schardendorf, Sakhumuzi Ndhlela, Rameez Ahmed, Privilege Chesa, Tadiwanashe Nyangani, Nkosinathi Nungu, Rodney Mufudza, Gareth Chirawu, Tadiwanashe Maravanyika, Kudakwashe Macheka, Taurai Tugwete