Clearly the entire scheduling is focused on televising India matches more than creating level playing field.
Zimbabwe and India will clash in their last Group B game in Tauranga on Friday (January 19), having had contrasting schedules over the previous two days.
While Zimbabwe played a game against Australia in Christchurch on Wednesday before traveling to Tauranga the next day and soon had a practice session at The Bay Oval ahead of their must-win clash.
India, meanwhile, enjoyed plenty of rest over the last few days. They took only a little more than three hours to beat Papua New Guinea on Tuesday and took time off from the game on Wednesday, when they went to Mount Maunganui, watched India beat Japan in the four-nation hockey tournament in Tauranga, and also visited The Bay Oval to watch a bit of the Windies v South Africa clash.
“It is a very tough scenario,” said Stephen Mangongo, Zimbabwe Under-19’s coach. “We play a game, we recover, we travel, we have team meetings and before you know it, we are at a game next day.”
Terming the situation ‘unfair’, Mangongo called for a level playing field in such world events, saying no team is bigger than the other. He also hoped to raise the scheduling issue with the concerned authorities once the tournament ended.
“Definitely we believe that in a tournament of this nature, there should be an even playing field,” he said. “If it’s a two-day break, it should be a two-day break for everyone. If it’s a three-day break, it should be a three-day break for everyone. In our instance, we played yesterday, we traveled the next day, the same traveling day is the training day, and the next day is the match.
“We believe it’s unfair, absolutely unfair. India have been resting, they’re ready. We would definitely raise that with our MD, our board, and when they go back to ICC, these anomalies have to be sorted out. There’s no team which is bigger than the other. We’re all Under-19 youth cricketers and we must be treated equally.”
All of India’s group matches have been scheduled for Tauranga, but they aren’t the only team to have enjoyed the luxury. England, Ireland, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka too have had the good fortune of playing each of their respective group matches in one city.
Apart from Zimbabwe, only Namibia and Canada have had to play two matches on alternate days in different cities.
However, Zimbabwe have also been fortunate to have had a three-day gap between their first two games, both being played in Christchurch. In fact, this was the first time Zimbabwe traveled out of Christchurch having played both their warm-up games in the city as well.