Zimbabwe will experience floodlit cricket for the first time with a pink ball when they play a day-night match against a South African Invitation XI over three days at Boland Park, starting on Wednesday.
By SportBrief Reporter
Although the match on Wednesday will only be a warm-up match for the Zimbabweans ahead of a one-off day-night test against South Africa from December 26 to 29, it will give the Chevrons a feel of what to expect next week, having never played a match under the floodlights before.
The match will also be the first floodlit test to be played in South Africa – and the first scheduled four-day test anywhere since Pakistan toured New Zealand in 1972/73.
For the Chevrons, the match is an opportunity for them to see how they fare against the second ranked cricket team in the world as per the ICC Test Match Rankings after having drawn their last test match which was against West Indies although they eventually lost the series 1-0.
The Proteas, on the other hand, will use the Paarl match to prepare two key long-time absentees, batsman AB de Villiers and fast bowler Dale Steyn, for a return to test match cricket with the two having been out of action through injury.
De Villiers has not played in a test since captaining South Africa against England in January 2016. He missed three series because of an elbow injury and then took a break from the five-day format, ceding the captaincy to Faf du Plessis.
Steyn suffered a broken shoulder in a test in Australia in November 2016 and his only competitive cricket since then has been in five Twenty20 matches for the Titans franchise in the past month.
The two neighboring nations have played eight test matches against each other since they first met in 1995/96.
Zimbabwe will come into the match as underdogs having failed to win any of those eight matches with South Africa winning seven, and one ending as a draw.
The Chevrons 15-man squad will feature two uncapped players in the form of batsman Ryan Burl and fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani.
Squad: Graeme Cremer (captain), Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Regis Chakabva, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chisoro, Peter Moor, Solomon Mire, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu