JOINING the list of postponed or cancelled international cricketing events is Ireland’s tour of Zimbabwe that was scheduled to begin early next month.
Featuring three T20Is and as many ODIs, the tour was supposed to start from 2nd April 2020, but will now have a new date due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The decision was taken after a thorough deliberation between the boards of Zimbabwe and Ireland.
Revealing the development, Givemore Makoni, the acting managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket, explained how the decision was purely a precautionary measure, keeping in mind the global status of the issue.
“We were looking forward to hosting Ireland in Bulawayo next month, but with the world in the throes of a public health emergency on a scale not witnessed in over a century, postponing the tour was the only reasonable decision,” Makoni said on Monday (March 16).
“Indeed, the mutually agreed decision to postpone the series is the right thing to do, given the worsening Coronavirus pandemic and the overwhelming priority to safeguard the players, fans and the entire cricket community. We are looking to reschedule the tour once the pandemic has been brought under control.”
Currently, Zimbabwe has not reported any cases of Covid-19 and there are not any restrictions placed on Irish citizens for travelling to the African nation, but both boards opined that taking a precautionary step would be the best option. Warren Deutrom, chief executive of Cricket Ireland also echoed Makoni’s views on the decision.
“This is the only reasonable decision in the circumstances, as we all play our part in containing the spread of Covid-19,” Deutrom stated.
“We have taken the advice of Irish and British governments, as well as relevant health and sports bodies, and will take a safety-first approach to our operations over the coming weeks and months.
“Apart from the players and coaches, it is the families and social circles that we are conscious of, and to tour at this point would cause unnecessary risk to the wider community. We pass on our thanks to Givemore and all of Zimbabwe Cricket for so readily agreeing with this position, and we shall work with Zimbabwe Cricket to seek a new date for the tour when we are all in a position to plan for the future with greater certainty.”
Meanwhile, English county clubs Derbyshire and Durham have also decided to cut short their pre-season tour of Zimbabwe as the Covid-19 outbreak continues to wreak havoc throughout the world.
Derbyshire and Durham had arrived in Zimbabwe last week and were due to play across three formats against local opposition in Bulawayo and Harare respectively.
Only one game, a T20 match between Derbyshire and the Zimbabwe Select side, was played at Queens Sports Club last Saturday before the county sides confirmed they were cutting short their stay in the country. — Cricbuzz/ZC Media.