by Kevin Mapasure

ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) will this week engage the government in a bid to get permission to travel to Pakistan for a limited overs series against the hosts.Pakistan have since confirmed that they will host Zimbabwe between October and November, but ZC will need to convince the government to allow them to tour considering the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has already cancelled what would have been a home T20 series against Afghanistan, while attempts at playing domestic cricket have also been thwarted.The current ZC board does not enjoy the best of relations with some of the parent ministry officials.

Zimbabwe has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases over the last couple of months which has seen plans at a return to some sporting activities being shelved.Pakistan have put measures in place to try and protect players and officials from getting infected by the disease during the tour.

The traveling party would have to go into a two-week quarantine after getting tested on arrival while further tests would be conducted ahead of the matches.National team players who had resumed training were asked to stay home following a spike in the rate of COVID-19 infections.

The national team is desperate for some action so much that ZC have requested more matches than the three one-day internationals (ODIs) and T-20s.ZC board chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani yesterday told NewsDay Sport that following an agreement between his organisation and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), they will this week approach government over the proposed tour.
“Following confirmation by PCB over the tour, we will this week engage the government to seek approval for the team to travel,” Mukuhlani said.

“We are obviously monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Pakistan and everything will depend on what the government decides.”He confirmed that ZC was seeking more game time for the national team which has been starved this year due to the coronavirus effects.

“At operational level, Hamilton (Masakdaza) and his team would be looking to have as many matches for the team as possible considering that they have not played much this year.”
A report by a Pakistan daily newspaper suggested that dates had already been set for the tour.

“Dates are being finalised with Zimbabwe but tentatively they will come to Pakistan tentatively between October 10 to 15 and first remain in a two-week quarantine and have COVID-19 tests before starting their training,” a PCB source was quoted in the Daily Star.

The source said that the PCB was busy preparing the protocols for the bio-secure bubble.

“The bio-secure bubble will be applicable for both the international series against Zimbabwe, probably the remaining four matches of the Pakistan Super League 5 and the entire domestic season,” the source said.

Zimbabwe was originally scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20 internationals, but has now requested the PCB to arrange a few extra matches for them.

“Their ODIs are part of the ICC Super League Championship but they want to play some extra matches as well. Pakistan’s next international activity after the series against Zimbabwe will be a tour to New Zealand in December after which they will host South Africa and then the Pakistan Super League will be organised followed by another tour to England to play a ODI series as part of the Super League,” the source added.

Pakistan have managed to put the coronavirus pandemic under control, with about 25 000 active cases as of yesterday.The country recorded 292 765 infections while 275 836 managed to recover with 6 235 succumbing to the virus.Zimbabwe last toured Pakistan in 2015.

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