THE start of the 2020-21 Frist Class cricket season has been pushed back by a week as Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) finalises arrangements to protect all players and officials involved in a bio-bubble.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Originally the season had been scheduled to start on December 3 but yesterday managing director Givemore Makoni (pictured) confirmed that due to the logistics that are being put in place the season will only start on December 9.
“We are starting the season on December 9, we are just making final arrangements of the controlled environment that we want to put players and officials in,” Makoni said. “With the current COVID-19 we can’t take chances, so we will put measures in place to try as much as possible to protect the players and officials.”
The players will be isolated for two weeks where they will play two rounds of matches before they break for Christmas. They will then return for another round of COVID-19 tests before they are readmitted into the bio bubble for continuation of the matches.
Provincial sides are currently busy ironing out contract issues with players ahead of the start of the new season which will see five sides contesting for the main prize of domestic cricket.
In October two players and two members of support staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Batsmen Regis Chakabva and Timycen Maruma, were both part of the provisional 25-man squad picked to travel to Pakistan, but were dropped from the 20-man because of a COVID-19 scare.
Chakabva and Maruma were room-mates in Zimbabwe’s bio-secure bubble and following their positive tests ZC then screened and tested those that might have come into close contact with the pair whereupon two other members of staff providing support services also returned positive results.
The new season sees the return of Southern Rocks which will be coached by championship-winning coach Shepherd Makunura who left Mountaineers after a successful stint.
Mountaineers have since roped in Dave Houghton to replace Makunura where he will be assisted by Steady Musoso and Shingi Masakadza.
Elton Chigumbura, who recently retired from international cricket will take up the position of player/assistant coach at Eagles.
Stuart Matsikenyeri, Walter Chawaguta and Douglas Hondo remain in charge at Eagles, Rhinos and Tuskers respectively.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kmapasure