HARARE, Zimbabwe, CMC – Zimbabwe believe the visit by reigning Youth World Cup champions, West Indies, will be a huge boost to their preparation for the showpiece in New Zealand next January.
The two teams go head-to-head in a three-match Youth One-Day International series starting here today, a tour which Zimbabwe Under-19 coach Stephen Mangongo referred to as a “massive project.”
“The coming in of West Indies for three ODIs is a massive project for Zimbabwe Cricket. We need to look after our youth project and the Under-19 level is the pinnacle of youth cricket,” he noted.
“So having the West Indies, who are the defending champions of the World Cup, touring Zimbabwe gives us goosebumps as coaches.”
West Indies arrive for the series full of confidence after beating a strong South Africa side 3-2 in a five-match series in Durban last week.
They open the tour at Harare Sports Club on Sunday before clashing in the second YODI at the Peterhouse School in Marondera on Wednesday. The two teams return to Harare Sports Club for the final game next Saturday.
Zimbabwe beat Namibia Under-19s 4-0 in a five-match series recently but Mangongo said matching talents with the Windies was a challenge to relish.
“It is an exciting challenge for us and the players because it will be an opportunity to judge ourselves against the world champions,” he explained.
“So we couldn’t ask for any better preparations five months before the next World Cup.”
The last time the two teams met during the 2015 Youth World Cup in Bangladesh, the Windies came out victorious in a game marred by the Mankad controvery, when Richard Ngarava was run out by all-rounder Keemo Paul with the African side requiring three runs to win off the final over.