The Rwanda Cricket Association (RCA) has this week started work on a major upgrade of facilities. The renovation of the ground at Kigali’s Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC) is aimed at bringing the venue up to international standard, with a view to hosting more bilateral cricket and ICC events.
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Currently possessing a single astroturf pitch, the ambitious project, estimated to cost around USD 100,000, will see three turf pitches and a three-lane net structure installed at the IPRC ground in the first phase, with the second adding a changing room facility, an office and a gym. The current stage is planned to be completed by March 2021, with work slated to begin on the next phase in April.
Currently, Rwanda’s only international-standard cricket venue is the picturesque Gahanga stadium, which was inaugurated in 2017. In a story from Kigali’s New Times, the RCA’s General Manager Emma Byiringiro emphasised the importance of the new IPRC facility for hosting events: "We have missed out on chances to host international competitions because there was only one cricket facility ready. I hope the new complex will help us attract international teams to participate in our competitions."
@RwaCricketAssoc has embarked on expansion and upgrading of the IPRC Kigali Cricket oval to international standards thanks @IPRCKigali, it will have three Turf pitches @Rwanda_Sports @RwandaOlympic @CharlesHaba @eddieBmuga @NewTimesRwanda @icc_africa @DMulindahabi pic.twitter.com/T4KAY53iYj— Rwanda Cricket Association (@RwaCricketAssoc) December 7, 2020
Paras Khadka tests positive for COVID-19
Former Nepal men’s captain Paras Khadka has been ruled out of the ongoing Gautam Buddha Cup after returning a positive test for COVID-19, with the right-hander taking to social media on Friday to break the news.
After experiencing suspected symptoms, Khadka self-isolated and undertook an examination which confirmed the viral diagnosis.
all the guidelines as per the doctors.— Paras Khadka (@paras77) December 11, 2020
Unfortunately will be missing the cricket action in Chitwan starting tomorrow so would like to wish everyone my best wishes ahead for the Gautam Buddha Cup.
The ICC Associate Player of the Decade Award nominee, and mainstay in the Nepal team, represented his country at the 2004, 2006 and 2008 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup and skippered the senior side from 2008 until 2019.
Namibia women to take on Zimbabwe in January
In more news from Africa, Namibia’s women are back in training ahead of hosting a bilateral series against Zimbabwe in the new year. The series, scheduled for 11-20 January, will see the African rivals face off in seven matches across ten days – four T20Is and three 50-over clashes. Due to be held in the coastal city of Walvis Bay, it will be the national team’s first outing in over a year, as well as being the debut series for new women’s coach Francois van der Merwe.
To help shake off the cobwebs, Van der Merwe is holding a rigorous three-week training camp ahead of the Zimbabweans’ arrival, and with ICC rankings points on the line, Namibia will be looking to knock off their Full Member opponents.
Speaking to the Southern Times newspaper, national player Arrasta Diergaardt expressed her excitement: "Zimbabwe is our biggest rival in Africa after South Africa, so this tournament is set to be one of our most competitive. Also, seeing that it will be one of our first for next year, we are going to use it to set the tone for the rest of the year."
Ten more teams, 35 more matches in Women’s T20 World Cup pathway
The ICC’s qualification pathway for the next Women’s T20 World Cup has been announced this week, with an increase in the number of teams competing at regional qualifiers to 37. The event, to be held in South Africa, is currently scheduled for the 9th to the 26th of February in 2023, a date that has already been moved once due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Ten teams will compete in the main event, with hosts South Africa qualifying automatically and seven further slots determined by the ICC rankings as of 30 November 2021. The two remaining spots will be on the line at the 2022 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier, an eight-team tournament drawing together the lowest-ranked teams in the top 10, the qualifiers from each of the five regional qualifiers, and the top-ranked runner-up.
The boosted regional qualifying pathway sees eight teams make their debuts at an ICC women’s event: Bhutan, Botswana, Cameroon, France, Malawi, Myanmar, the Philippines and Turkey. Argentina and Brazil, meanwhile, make their first appearance since 2012. The qualifiers launch in August of next year, with Scotland holding the six-team Europe tournament, followed by a busy September where Samoa hosts seven other teams from East Asia Pacific, the USA hosts the four-team Americas event, and Malaysia is the venue of the eight-team Asia qualifier. The Africa qualifier follows in October, an 11-team bonanza being held in Botswana.
Speaking to Emerging Cricket about the country’s first qualifying campaign, France captain Emmanuelle Brelivet said: "It's an incredible opportunity, and we've already been training for several months to prepare for the tournament. In light of the sanitary context which prevents us from training together, we've put in place personalised, individual training programmes. We can't wait to play against the other teams in the tournament, and show that France has a place amongst cricketing nations."
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