ZC gears up for imminent return . . . Afghanistan tour hangs in the balance

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Austin Karonga
SPORTS WRITER
karongaa@dailynews.co.zw

ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) yesterday started disinfecting major grounds around the country in preparation for a possible return of the game during this coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Work was in full swing at Harare Sports Club where the ground and association’s offices were being disinfected while the same exercise was taking place at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, Mutare and Kwekwe Sports Clubs
“Right now we are just fumigating the place just making sure that all the areas that are being used such as the groundsman shades because they have been coming to just make sure that the ground is still in good shape,” ZC director of cricket Hamilton Masakadza told the Daily News yesterday.
“Obviously also looking forward to next week, we not really sure about what’s going to happen on the possibility of lifting the lockdown, we don’t want to start only when it’s announced, we want to be ahead of the game and ahead of the ball so to speak.”
With the country under lockdown since March 30, ZC has had to forgo their domestic cricket season.
The impact has been severe for the association as the senior men’s national team tour of Ireland had to be postponed due to the global impact of the novel virus.
The women’s side scheduled tour of Ireland for preparations of the Women World Cup Qualifier that was set for Sri Lanka in July had to be also called off.
Afghanistan were also supposed to arrive here later this month but that series is now hanging in the balance as well.
“It’s had a massive impact as you already know we had to stop everything. We had to cut our season short and we couldn’t finish our game which was a big disadvantage in that we couldn’t play as much cricket as we need to,” Masakadza said.
“We understand that the biggest thing is that the guys should be playing as much cricket as possible but it’s one of those things that’s out of our hands and now will probably going to have to postpone the Afghanistan tour.
“Though they were supposed to land at the end of this month but I don’t think that’s going to be possible with where we are with the way things still are with the travel restrictions and everything around Covid-19 so it’s had a really huge impact.”
Masakadza however, expressed hope that ZC will be able to salvage these tours once the situation returns to normal.
“The players haven’t been able to come out and do actual training outdoors. They are just doing small programmes, stuff they can do indoors so it’s really held us back and it’s really stopped everything but I guess it’s for the best, “ he said.
“At the end of the day, this is a global pandemic that we are struggling to contain; fitness and health comes first. We have to respect that and just make sure that we comply and everyone is happy and safe.
“The beauty of it with all these tours is that it’s just a matter of postponing, we not really cancelling tours per se; if we can’t play the Afghanistan one for example, we can always push it to a later date when things are safe.
“The only disadvantage is that we are having to move games from where were we had planned but we will have measures in place to make sure we can start when we can be able to start.”
On Thursday, the ministry of Sports and the Sports and Recreation Commission revealed plans to gradually resume sporting activities starting with hose that are deemed low risk.
Cricket was classified as a low risk sport and should they comply with the measures prescribed by the authorities then they should be able to get back to training.
“It’s brilliant news, it’s a very good development on our part that they have started to consider those things for our possible come back,” Masakadza said.

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