Afghan series in doubt

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Zimbabwe's captain Elton Chigumbura eyes the ball during the first cricket match of a three-match series of One Day Internationals (ODI) between Zimbabwe and South Africa at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on August 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JEKESAI NJIKIZANA (Photo credit should read JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) managing director Givemore Makoni has expressed reservations about the national team’s scheduled tours taking place in the next couple of months.

By Kevin Mapasure

Makoni said while his organisations was hopeful that the situation would allow the home series against Afghanistan next month to take place, they were leaving room for disappointment as authorities in both countries battle to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Zimbabwe was set to host a T-20 series against Afghanistan next month, before hosting India for more white ball cricket in July while a trip to Australia in August was also on the calendar.

Zimbabwe has so far recorded 34 positive cases of COVID-19 and the government has lifted some of the lockdown restrictions, but sport remains banned under level 2 conditions.

Sportspersons have been restricted to fitness regimes that they can only do individually at home.

National cricket team players have been working with their fitness coaches via digital means.

Makoni acknowledged that with the fight against the pandemic, sport is likely to be one of the last activities to have its ban lifted.

“Right now, every country is focusing on fighting the coronavirus and it is only when it is contained that people are going to start thinking about sport,” he said.

“Our situation is like that of everyone. We will just have to wait until the problem has been put under control.

Obviously, when the situation has been managed, everyone will have a look at the Future Tours Programme and see which tours can go ahead and which ones can either be cancelled or re-scheduled. We have a scheduled tour against Afghanistan at home and we are still hopeful that the disease would have been controlled in the country and that the series can go ahead. We also have India scheduled to visit us in July while we have away commitments in Australia.”

The Afghanistan home series is under the biggest threat at the moment as authorities in both countries have maintained lockdowns.

Zimbabwe will be under lockdown for at least two more weeks while in Afghanistan the lockdown was extended to May 24 on Saturday.

Afghanistan has recorded 2 469 infections so far and their cricketers can only resume training after the lockdown has been lifted.

India has started to lift some of the restrictions, giving a glimmer of hope that their visit to Zimbabwe could be possible, while Australia has controlled the coronavirus much better than other countries.

Everything will depend on how far the authorities in respective countries would have gone in containing the situation.

Meanwhile, ZC has cancelled the 2019/20 domestic season due to the effects of the coronavirus.

ZC director of cricket, Hamilton Masakadza made the announcement yesterday in a Press statement.

“ZC has annulled the 2019/20 domestic season due to the coronavirus pandemic,” the statement read.

“This means the first-class competition, the Logan Cup and the List A contest, the Pro50 Championship, have been voided, with no winners being declared. We were looking forward to the conclusion of our season, but seeing what is happening in our country and elsewhere across the world, we realised it was not realistic for us to expect our competitions to resume anytime soon,”

“ZC, therefore, decided to void the 2019/20 season with immediate effect and we will not declare a winner or award any of the trophies as teams had not played an equal number of games when the season was curtailed.”