THE tour to Zimbabwe by Afghanistan this month for five Twenty20 internationals has been cancelled after the host’s government declined to approve the trip, citing a health risk due to rising coronavirus cases in the country.
The Asian side was prepared to travel here for the series, but a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed by the Zimbabwean government resulted in the country’s cricket federation applying for waiver for the matches to go ahead as scheduled.
The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), the Zimbabwean government’s sport regulatory body, revealed through its director-general Prince Mupazviriho that the request was turned down.
“It will not be proper at the moment for foreigners to come to Zimbabwe for sport considering that there won’t be enough time to go through the required quarantine period,” Mupazviriho told IndependentSport yesterday.
“We also took into consideration the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and felt that such a tour would put the players and everybody at great risk. So the minister responsible (Sports minister Kirsty Coventry) decided not to approve the tour.”
Zimbabwe has not played any international cricket in the year since hosting Sri Lanka for two Tests in January, as the Covid-19 outbreak has wreaked havoc on what would have been one of the African team’s busiest years in recent times.
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani remarked that the Afghanistan series cancellation was a huge setback, but added that the country is now hoping to travel to Pakistan in October to begin it’s World Super League commitments, a new ICC model that creates a pathway to the 2023 World Cup.
“We will have to stand guided by that, but I’m sure everyone will understand where government is coming from regarding health,” Mukuhlani said yesterday.
“We would have liked to see cricket being played. It’s unfortunate, but we are caught between a rock and a hard place.
“We have the tour to Pakistan in October. The good thing is that Pakistan is currently touring England, and cricket is now open in Pakistan. The assumption is that they will be willing to host us.”
Mukuhlani, however, added that traveling to Pakistan was also subject to government approval.
“There are two things when it comes to Pakistan: One, safety and security and, two, safety and health. (However) the new PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) president has done remarkably well in giving the world comfort to tour Pakistan.”