Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter 

THE country’s premier first class cricket competition, the Logan Cup gets underway in Harare on Wednesday.

Mountaineers take on Eagles at Harare Sports Club, while Tuskers face off with Rhinos at Old Hararians Sports Club in the first round of the four-day competition scheduled for 9-12 December.

Southern Rocks, back in top-flight domestic cricket for the first time since the 2013/14 season, will be on a bye and will only get into action against Tuskers next week at Harare Sports Club.

That next round of fixtures, pencilled in for 15-18 December, will also see Rhinos and Eagles squaring off at Old Hararians in the other match to be played before the Christmas break.

All Logan Cup matches will be played at venues in Harare in a bio-secure bubble set up by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) in an effort to greatly curtail the danger of players and support staff contracting or spreading the coronavirus.

According to ZC, pp to 100 players and support staffers were this week tested for Covid-19 before they checked into strictly controlled accommodation facilities in the capital city on Tuesday afternoon.

The bio-secure bubble is covering the teams’ accommodation, practice and match venues as well as transport.

ZC were forced to void the 2019/20 season due to the Covid-19, which saw no winner being declared for any of the competitions. It is certainly a massively anticipated new season that is expected to be an exciting campaign.

A couple of overseas-based players are set to feature in the first-class competition. Southern Rocks have signed up Shane Snater and Ben Curran who are on the books on English county sides Essex and Northamptonshire respectively.Leicestershire batsman Nick Welch will turn out for Mountaineers.
Oskar Kolk and Brad Evans, who have both been involved in county cricket with Cardiff MCCU, have been included in the Eagles squad together with fast bowler Tanaka Chivanga who has been doing well on the South Africa club scene.

Apart from the drafting in of the foreign-based talent, the 2020/21 domestic cricket season has also seen a movement of players between the provincial teams.

Zimbabwe internationals Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza, Tendai Chisoro, Richmond Mutumbami, Brian Mudzinganyama and Cephas Zhuwao will form the nucleus of the Southern Rocks side alongside former Mountaineers players Roy Kaia, Innocent Kaia and William Mashinge.

Peter Moor has left Rhinos for Tuskers, with Christopher Mpofu and Charles Kunje heading in the opposite direction.

Brendan Taylor, who was with the Alistair Campbell High Performance Centre last season, is now back in the Rhinos colours.

All teams have also included in their squads former national Under-19 players, with the most recent captain Dion Myers (Mountaineers), Gareth Chirawu (Eagles), Tadiwanashe Nyangani (Eagles), Tadiwanashe Marumani (Southern Rocks), Privilege Chesa (Southern Rocks) and Nkosilathi Nungu (Southern Rocks) all set to make their first-class bow.

Players who were outstanding in the recent National Premier League campaign have also been rewarded, with Adre Odendaal and Gabriel Jaya of Great Zimbabwe Patriots getting a chance to prove themselves at a higher level with Southern Rocks, while Gladiators bowler Malcolm Chikuwa has earned himself a spot in the Eagles squad.

Squads

Eagles: Chamunorwa Chibhabha (captain), Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wessly Madhevere, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Kudzai Maunze, Regis Chakabva, Tinashe Nenhunzi, Rodney Mupfudza, Gareth Chirawu, Faraz Akram, Brad Evans, Tapiwa Mufudza, Tadiwanashe Nyangani, Keith Jaure, Cuthbert Musoko, Daniel Jakiel, Tanaka Chivanga, Tatenda Chikuni, Oskar Kolk, Malcolm Chikuwa, Kuda Munyede, Ashley Mufandauya, Brandon Timoni, Brighton Zhawi

Mountaineers: Kevin Kasuza (captain), Victor Nyauchi, Kudzai Sauramba, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chatara, Timycen Maruma, Tony Munyonga, Wellington Masakadza, Shingirai Masakadza, John Masara, Clive Chitumba, Tinashe Muchawaya, Dion Myers, Gary Chirimuuta, Joylord Gumbie, Baxon Gopito, Tinashe Chimbambo, Tanya Kagumba, Brighton Chapungu, Tinashe Chiora, Spencer Magodo, Frank Mazvita, Definite Mawadzi, Vincent Masekesa, Shadreck Shawarira, Nick Welch, Hendricks Macheke, Akshy Patel, Clive Chiposi, Munashe Chipara, Prosper Mugeri

Rhinos: Tarisai Musakanda (captain), Brandon Mavuta, Carl Mumba, Prince Masvaure, Nyasha Mayavo, Remembrance Nyathi, Trevor Chibvongodze, Takudzwaishe Kaitano, Prince Masvaure, Nqobile Sibanda, Mthulisi Tshuma, Elson Chikowero, Tafara Chingwara, Ronald Masocha, Kudakwashe Macheka, Davis Murwendo, Joshua Mahwire, Jabulisa Tshuma, Wallace Mubaiwa, Manson Chikowero, Tashinga Musekiwa, Trevor Gwandu, Neville Madziva, Walter Matau, Christopher Masike, Brendan Taylor, Ryan Burl, Charles Kunje, Christopher Mpofu, Jonathan Campbell

Southern Rocks: Richmond Mutumbani (captain), Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza, Cephas Zhuwao, Roy Kaia, Innocent Kaia, Brian Mudzinganyama, Patrick Mambo, Andre Odendaal, Tafadzwa Tsiga, Tendai Chisoro, William Mashinge, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Trevor Mutsamba, Shane Snater, Privilege Chesa, Nkosilathi Nungu, Daniel Hondo, Ben Curran, Takonda, Gabriel Jaya, Sydney Murombo, Costa Zhou, Alistair Frost

Tuskers: Brian Chari (captain), Sean Williams, Peter Joseph Moor, Craig Ervine, John Nyumbu, Ainsley Ndlovu, Ernest Masuku, Luke Jongwe, Sheunopa Musekwa, Charlton Tshuma, Stephen Chimhamhiwa, Bright Phiri, Clive Madande, Cunningham Ncube, Aarsh Jha, Tanunurwa Makoni, Milton Shumba, Arnold Shara, Nkosana Mpofu, Tanatswa Bechani, Allan Chigoma, Thabo Mboyi, Thamsanqa Nunu, Prince Kaunda, Dalubuhle Mboyi, Panashe Maposa, Tanaka Mutomba, Talent Dzikiti, Mpokuhle Dube, Thembelani Ncube, Admire Mupembe. @Mdawini_29