By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket’s hopes of a busy season have been dealt a major blow after world cricket powerhouses India called off their tour of the country in August due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The postponement of the visit by India is a double blow for Zimbabwe who were not only relishing the opportunity of playing against one of world cricket’s top teams but also looking forward to the financial rewards which come with hosting the richest cricketing nation.
India were scheduled to tour Sri Lanka for three ODIs and as many T20Is starting June 24, and then come to Zimbabwe for three ODIs starting August 22.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah revealed in a statement on Friday that both the Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe tours have been called off owing to the Covid-19 threat, which has not allowed national cricketers to even resume training.
“The Indian Cricket Team will not travel to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe owing to the current threat of Covid-19,” Shah said in a statement.
“Team India was originally scheduled to travel to the island nation from 24th June 2020 for three ODIs and as many T20Is and to Zimbabwe for a series comprising three ODIs starting 22nd August 2020.”
The Indian team is yet to resume training and the camp is unlikely to take place before July. The players will take around six weeks to be match ready, according to the side’s support staff.
Shah, in the release, reiterated the board’s stance that it will organise a training camp only when it is deemed safe by the government.
“The BCCI will conduct a camp for its contracted players only when it is completely safe to train outdoors.
“The BCCI is determined to take steps towards the resumption of international and domestic cricket, but it will not rush into any decision that will jeopardise the efforts put in by the Central and State governments and several other respective agencies in containing the spread of the coronavirus.”
He also said that the BCCI is constantly monitoring the Covid-19 situation in the country and will take a call on resumption of cricketing activities after considering all the government guidelines.
“The Office-Bearers have been taking note of advisories issued by the Government of India and the Board is committed to fully comply with the restrictions imposed and guidelines issued.
“The BCCI will continue to study and evaluate the changing situation,” Shah added.
India has been reporting almost 10 000 new cases every day, with the total death toll standing at about 8 500 at the time this article was published.
Zimbabwe Cricket had announced this week plans to host Afghanistan and India before they travel to Australia in August.
A squad of 33 players is set to start training ahead of the Afghanistan T-20 series while the Asians have already began preparations for their visit to Zimbabwe.
The withdrawal of India from the planned tour to Zimbabwe will hit ZC’s coffers as they were looked to boost their finances from the lucrative tour.
Zimbabwe also missed out on hosting India last year and they will be hoping to reschedule it for next year.
Covid-19 has since claimed Ireland’s visit to Zimbabwe.