Zim India tour in doubt

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Zimbabwean Batsman Tatenda Taibu takes a shot from Indian bowler Pragyan Ojha at Harare Sports Club on June 13, 2010 in the second and last of the two Micromax Twenty 20 series. AFP PHOTO/ DESMOND KWANDE

THE announcement of the dates for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) has put Zimbabwe’s tour of India in March in doubt, and the visit may be restructured, postponed or even cancelled entirely.
While no dates had been settled upon for Zimbabwe’s visit, the tour was scheduled to take place at some point in March, and include a Test and three one-day internationals.
However, India’s tour of Australia and New Zealand concludes on February 10, after which Australia’s trip to India for two T20Is and five ODIs runs from February 24 to March 13. With this year’s IPL due to start on March 23, that leaves only 10 days to squeeze Zimbabwe in.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Givemore Makoni will meet with his counterparts at the BCCI this week to discuss the tour, with the possibility that it could be restructured to include only ODIs and T20Is, or to agree on a possible postponement.
The ODIs against Zimbabwe had been tabled as part of India’s preparation for the World Cup in England.
Zimbabwe visited India for the World T20 in 2016, the World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2006, but their trip penciled in for March would have been their first for a bilateral series since 2002.
Meanwhile, play in the latest round of the Logan Cup, Zimbabwe’s domestic first-class competition, has been suspended due to the ongoing turmoil in the country.
Amid fuel shortages and a rising cost of living, doctors and teachers in the country have been on strike for better pay, and after the Zimbabwean government announced increases in the price of fuel on Sunday there were calls for a national strike starting from Monday.
Both Logan Cup matches, between Mountaineers and Mashonaland Eagles at Harare Sports Club and Mid West Rhinos and Matabeleland Tuskers at Old Hararians, went ahead on Monday before an afternoon thunderstorm brought play to a halt, but by Tuesday the situation in the country had deteriorated, with widespread protests and the deployment of police and the army. The ongoing instability meant that no further cricket has been possible, and the games were drawn.
The government suspended access to the internet during the nationwide protests and the unavailability of normal communication channels has made it difficult to find clarity on the situation, but a cricketer confirmed to that the games were stopped due to the unfolding crisis. Aside from the cricketers themselves, several members of the grounds staff, scorers and umpires live in satellite suburbs of Harare which have been most affected by the unrest.
Due to the general breakdown of order, travel to and from the two grounds being used — both close to the city centre — and outlying suburbs brought with it danger and uncertainty.
As well as this, public transport, mainly in the form of commuter omnibuses, was not operating.
“Yes the Logan cup games were stopped due to the crisis,” the cricketer said. “A lot of the groundsman, scorers, umpires etc were travelling from Chitungwiza and surrounding areas and felt it was too dangerous to get to town. Also, there was no omnibuses operating, so they couldn’t get there anyway.”
While some access to the internet in Zimbabwe was restored on yesterday, another cricketer confirmed what had been a “complete shutdown”.
Zimbabwe Cricket could not be reached for an official comment. — ESPNCricInfo.

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