We’re game!..Bulawayo readies for Cricket World Cup qualifiers
Brandon Moyo, [email protected]
GROUNDS curators are putting final touches at Bulawayo’s two venues that will host International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Cricket World Cup qualifiers which start on June 18 and end on July 9.
Bulawayo’s ceremonial home of cricket Queens Sports Club and Bulawayo Athletic Club (BAC) will stage Group B qualifiers, with Group A matches being played in Harare.
Teams making up Group B are former world champions and reigning Asia Cup champions, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Scotland, the United States of America (USA) and Oman.
Zimbabwe, West Indies, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Nepal make up Group A that will play games in Harare.
Curators at Queens Sports Club were yesterday busy working on the centre wickets and the nets while others were plucking out grass at terraces near the scoreboard.
At BAC, the curators were also working on the centre wickets while workers of a private company were working on the eating area as well as the media centre.
Nicholas Singo who is the general manager for both Bulawayo Metropolitan Cricket Association (BMCA) and Tuskers, said they are impressed with the progress.
“We have hired extra labour to make sure that we speed up our preparations. We have among the workers we have engaged, painters and builders. The painting of our spectator stands is almost complete. We also have a new camera platform which is almost complete and what is just left there is the painting,” said Mr Singo.
He said after the camera platform, the workers will then move to the run-up poles and work is expected to be completed by next Saturday.
“All in all we are happy with the progress we have made at Queens so far and we can say we are almost 85% ready. We are waiting for the chairs for the players which should be arriving very soon,” said Singo.
He said an electronic big screen will be installed at Queens Sports Club for the duration of the tournament.
At BAC, construction of a new media centre or commentary room is underway and is also expected to be completed soon. “It’s also work in progress at BAC as you can see as some workers are already preparing the wicket. By next week that media room should be complete.That is our major project here,” said Singo.
The new structure and the temporary structure being used are expected to be air-conditioned. In the past a temporary commentary area used to be installed at BAC whenever there were international competitions.
All games will be televised and there will also be a Cricket For Good initiative where each team will be assigned a school which they will be working with and in return the school will support that country during their matches. Singo said they are working with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in the selection of the schools.
Meanwhile, USA is likely to be the first team to arrive in Bulawayo as they are expected to jet into the City of Kings and Queens on Monday. Prior to official ICC warm-up matches, USA is set to play practice matches against Tuskers at Old Mutual Academy, former Heath Streak Academy with the first encounter slated for 7 June. – @brandon_malvin.