Zimbabwe’s cricket team granted permission to tour Pakistan

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HARARE, ZIMBABWE - MARCH 22: Blessing Muzarabani (L) and Sean Ervine of Zimbabwe celebrate the wicket of Ahmed Raza of the UAE during The ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier between the UAE and Zimbabwe at The Harare Sports Club on March 22, 2018 in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Photo by Julian Herbert-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe players in action during a past ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Harare, Zimbabwe. (Photo by Julian Herbert-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Zimbabwe’s national men’s cricket team was granted permission by the government to tour Pakistan for a limited-overs series scheduled for October 30 to November 10, Zimbabwe Cricket, the sport’s governing body in the country, announced.

The tour will see three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 (T20) games played. The ODIs will be played in Multan while the T20s in Rawalpindi, both at single venues and with no fans in attendance, according to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Players and officials will take two COVID-19 tests within 48 hours before they leave the capital Harare and then take another test as soon as they arrive in Pakistan on October 20. Meanwhile, players and officials from Pakistan will be allowed to attend training sessions on condition they test negative for the virus.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Tavenga Mukuhlani thanked the government for authorizing the tour.

“Needless to say, we at ZC are bursting with excitement as we look forward to playing cricket again and representing our nation with pride and passion in Pakistan,” Mukuhlani said.

PCB director for international cricket Zakir Khan confirmed the series saying it will be held under bio-secure conditions to ensure the health and safety of all participants.

“This series is critical to Pakistan as it aspires to qualify directly for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 and, as such, every point in the Super League will count. Our last ODI series was against Sri Lanka, 12 months ago, so the boys will have to hit the ground running and try to pocket maximum points.”

This is set to be the first competitive match by Zimbabwe since authorities suspended all forms of cricket in the country in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The series will also see a return to cricket in Pakistan as the side was one of a number of teams hosted by England between July and September.

Since the suspension of most sporting activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, England is so far the only country to have hosted an international cricket match due to health fears and restrictions.

Selectors already named a provisional 25-man squad for the tour which kicked off its preparations for the tour with a training camp at the Harare Sports Club in Harare on Tuesday.

Last month, ZC called off a five-match T20I series against Afghanistan after the government warned the country was not ready to host visiting teams due to a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.

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