Sri Lanka is set to tour Zimbabwe early next month for two Test matches beginning on January 16.
The upcoming cricket tour, which is part of the ICC’s Future Tours Programme, will be Zimbabwe’s first major assignment following the lifting of a three-month ban by the ICC in October.
Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed the upcoming tour which will come immediately after their upcoming T20 series in India which begins on January 5.
“Sri Lanka’s next Test series will be against Zimbabwe in January when they make a tour there on January 16. It will be the first tour of Zimbabwe since the ICC lifted its suspension of Zimbabwe Cricket due to government interference in October 2019,” Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement on Friday.
“Zimbabwe last played Test cricket in November 2018 in a two-match series against Bangladesh. Sri Lanka’s immediate assignment is to India for a three-match T20I series from January 5-10. They will return from the Indian tour on January 11 and leave for Zimbabwe for the two Tests five days later,” the Islanders said.
The upcoming tour by Sri Lanka will come as a rare dose of good news for Zimbabwe cricketers following a troubled year 2019 in which they were the only Test playing nation that did not feature in the longer format of the game.
In addition to the inactivity in the game’s pinnacle format, Zimbabwe also became the first full ICC member in history to be suspended by the game’s global governing body due to perceived interference by the country’s government in the running of cricketing affairs.
The suspension left local cricket in disarray as the ICC froze all funding to Zimbabwe and excluded the country’s national teams from participating in international fixtures and tournaments hosted under the ICC.
Zimbabwe were also expected to tour India for three T20Is again at the start of next year but the BCCI decided to replace Zimbabwe with Sri Lanka instead, due to the uncertainty which surrounded the African country’s membership.
Zimbabwe Cricket board chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani said the schedule for the upcoming series would be confirmed soon.
“I can confirm the series is on and it’s most likely to start around mid-January. Management is currently involved in discussions with all the relevant stakeholders,” said Mukuhlani.