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By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S national cricket team will have to wait longer before getting an opportunity to redeem themselves from a recent disastrous tour of Bangladesh after the postponement of Ireland’s six-game tour of the country next month.
Both Zimbabwe Cricket and Cricket Ireland released statements on Monday confirming they had agreed to postpone the upcoming tour because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The teams were scheduled to contest three Twenty20 and three ODIs from 2-12 April in Bulawayo.
While there are no current Irish government travel restrictions or prohibitions relating to Zimbabwe, the two governing bodies believed the risk posed by travel and the fast-changing nature of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic required a prudent and safety-first approach to protect the health of players, coaching staff and fans.
“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,” Zimbabwe Cricket’s acting managing director Givemore Makoni said.
“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.”
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said: “This is the only reasonable decision in the circumstances, as we all play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19. 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.”
Earlier this month, Ireland and Zimbabwe’s women’s tour to Thailand for a four-team tournament was cancelled over coronavirus fears.
English county side Derbyshire on Sunday cut short its pre-season tour due to the coronavirus while Durham aborted their trip to the South African nation at the 11th hour.