Zimbabwe begin the second leg of their European tour today, when they play hosts Netherlands in the first of three one-day matches.
The first two matches are at the Volharding RAP Amstels (VRA) Cricket Ground in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, while the third will be played at the Voorburg Cricket Club in The Hague.
The second match at the VRA Cricket ground is penciled in for Thursday and the last one is scheduled for Saturday.
Because the Netherlands no longer have official One-Day International (ODI) status, the three 50-over matches are classified as List A.
The Zimbabwe squad trained at the VRA ground on Monday, and the players enjoyed working under a clear Dutch sky after a week of cloud, rain, wind and rare sunshine in Scotland.
They had a fielding session in the morning and then about half the squad returned for an optional batting session in the afternoon, at the oldest cricket ground in the Netherlands.
The three matches between the Netherlands and Zimbabwe are crucial in the big picture for both sides, and the respective head coaches have described them as “key”.
“With Zimbabwe ranked 11th in the world in one-day cricket, this series is vital for us in preparation for our key final World League matches against Kenya and Namibia,” said the Netherlands head coach Ryan Campbell.
“These three friendly List A matches are key in our preparations for Sri Lanka given that we were unable to go early and play warm-up matches there,” said Zimbabwe head coach Heath Streak, adding: “Match practice is key for us Zimbabweans who in the recent past have had very little game time in comparison to other countries.”
The Zimbabwe tour of Europe began with two ODI matches in Scotland. The first was won by the hosts and Zimbabwe rallied back to state their case in the second.
Streak gave the hosts their due: “Scotland were a strong team and you could see they had played regular cricket, being in their mid-season. They are a strong Associate and the fact that they recently beat Sri Lanka and ourselves in first ODIs shows they are progressing as a country.”
The former Zimbabwe captain was pleased with his charges in the second ODI match, saying they played to their potential and put up a “professional performance” led by captain Graeme Cremer.
“I hope our players can continue to gain experience and confidence,” said Streak.
After the European leg of their tour, Zimbabwe will go to Sri Lanka for five ODI matches and one Test match.
The ODI matches are on the 30th of June, and the 2nd, 6th, 8th and 10th of July. The Test match begins on the 14th of July.
Ahead of the Sri Lanka ODI series, the Zimbabwe coach has advised his squad: “The players need to use this opportunity (in Scotland and the Netherlands) to stake a claim to play in the starting 11 in Sri Lanka.”