ZC seeks Afghan tour permission

Kevin Mapasure

Zimbabwe Cricket is set to seek permission from government for the national men’s team to resume preparations for their proposed two Tests and three T-20 internationals against Afghanistan at a yet to be determined venue.

Last week ZC suspended all cricket activities after government enforced a lockdown to try and contain the rate of infections of the novel coronavirus.

All sporting activities have been banned but there is a portal for national associations to apply for a special dispensation.

The Zimbabwe Football Association has since successfully applied for the national team to participate at the African Nations Championships in Cameroon starting January 16.

ZC is currently in talks with the Afghanistan board over the tour which is likely to take place in Oman.

Yesterday ZC managing director, Givemore Makoni was optimistic that the tour would go ahead.

“We are preparing for the tour, we had a previous arrangement where we played matches in a bio secure environment, so we are going to seek permission from government for the national team to resume preparations in a controlled setting, ” he said.

“The previous arrangement was working well for us and the government was satisfied with the measures, but things have changed since the last pronouncement following a surge in infections. So we had to stop the running of domestic leagues. We now have to re-apply for us to get permission for the national team to prepare. We also have to seek permission to travel for that tour. But we are optimistic that the tour will go ahead.”

The Afghanistan tour will mark Zimbabwe’s first assignment in the calendar year.

It had originally been set for India, where Afghanistan host their home tours, but due to the impact of Covid-19 in that country, authorities are exploring other options, with Oman looking more likely to host its first Test match.

It will be the first time that Zimbabwe and Afghanistan will square off in the longest format of the game after the latter gained full member status last year.
The domestic T-20 competition that had been scheduled to start on Monday, would have been used as part of the selection process for the squad that will take on Afghanistan.

Just before Christmas, two rounds of the Logan Cup had been played and with the latest developments, selectors will probably have to use statistics from last season.

Following a relatively quiet 2020, Zimbabwe is expecting a congested calendar in 2021 where according to the FTP, they will tour Afghanistan (two Tests, three T-20s), host Pakistan (two Tests and three T-20s), host Bangladesh (two Tests, three ODIs and three T-20s), travel to Ireland (one Test, three ODIs and five T-20s) and they will wrap up the year by hosting Afghanistan (one Test, three ODIs and two T-20s).

Zimbabwe Cricket is pushing to host India this year while they are also expected to play The Netherlands sometime during the year so much that the calendar may see some changes from what the FTP suggests.

They were supposed to have hosted India this year but the tour was cancelled due to the coronavirus-induced lockdowns across the world.

Their tour to Australia was also called off while Ireland’s visit to Zimbabwe also could not take place.

The domestic season kick started with the premier competition, the Logan Cup, where two rounds of matches were played before the players and officials took a break for the Christmas holiday