By Sports Reporter
ENGLISH county Derbyshire have cancelled their preseason tour to Zimbabwe and are heading home Monday due to fears over the novel coronavirus pandemic.
With the deadly pandemic causing chaos with the global sporting schedule, Derbyshire have elected to end their tour, although there have been no recorded cases of the coronavirus in Zimbabwe.
A statement on Derbyshire’s official website said although no one on their team has the virus at present they had decided to cut short their historic tour after playing just one match.
“Derbyshire County Cricket Club can confirm that the club’s preseason tour to Zimbabwe will be concluded early and all players and staff will begin their journey back to the UK on Monday,” the English side said in a statement.
“The club has been in constant contact with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and has received a great deal of support from the local authorities in Zimbabwe as the global COVID-19 situation develops.
“While no member of the touring group has shown any symptoms related to COVID-19, the health and safety of our players and staff remains of paramount importance and therefore the decision has been made to bring the group home at the earliest available opportunity.”
Derbyshire said they will closely monitor the situation surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and “continue to follow government guidelines in relation to all employees and visitors to the Pattonair County Ground in England.
Derbyshire arrived in Zimbabwe earlier this week where they toured the majestic Victoria Falls before their first match on Saturday where they beat a Zimbabwe Select XI by 48 runs in their opening T20 match at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo Saturday.
Former Zimbabwe international and coach Dave Houghton who is now Derbyshire’s head of cricket thanked Zimbabwe Cricket for their hospitality during the team’s briefs tour.
“While the decision to return was not an easy one to make, it is the correct one for all players and everyone associated with the club currently in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“I would like to thank Zimbabwe Cricket for their hospitality and the local authorities for their guidance during the last few days.
“We will continue our preseason preparations back in Derby to give the squad the best possible opportunity to be match-ready for the coming season.”