By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket will use the bio bubble concept for the country’s premier first-class cricket competition which is set to behind on December 9 in an effort to ensure the safety of the players and officials from the coronavirus.
The country’s domestic first-class season was initially scheduled to start on Thursday but has been moved back to next week to allow for more time to finalise the logistics for a bio-secure bubble for the first-class competition.
A bio-bubble is a safe and secure environment isolated from the outside world to lessen the risk of Covid-19 infection. It permits only authorised sports persons, support staff and match officials to enter the protected area after testing negative for Covid-19.
The start of the country’s premier first class cricket competition comes after six players and a coach at local cricket clubs who returned positive Covid-19 results last month have all since returned to duty following their recovery, giving ZC a clean bill of health ahead of the start of the 2020/21 domestic season.
The local cricket governing body announced that 100 players and support staff from the five participating franchises will be tested and checked into accommodation facilities before action gets underway.
“In another first for local sport, ZC has set up a bio-secure bubble – which refers to an environment cut off from the outside world so as to greatly minimise the risk of players and support staff contracting COVID-19 – in Harare for the five first-class teams,” ZC said in a statement.
“This will see up to 100 players and support staff first getting tested for the coronavirus before they can check into strictly controlled accommodation facilities. The bubble will cover the teams’ accommodation, practice and match venues as well as transport.
ZC revealed that all the players will not be allowed to interact with the outside world for the duration of the tournament.
“Accordingly, all those in the bubble will not be permitted to have access to families, visitors, friends and relatives for the duration of the seclusion period. Apart from being expected to strictly adhere to all COVID-19 protocols such as sanitisation and social distancing, all individuals within the bubble will be monitored daily through temperature and symptom checks. The health and well-being of players and staff remains the highest priority at ZC and the organisation will continue to adhere to Government health guidelines in order to curb the spread of the disease,” ZC said.
The four-day tournament will get underway with defending champions Mountaineers, who are aiming for a fourth successive Logan Cup title facing Eagles while Tuskers will be taking on Rhinos in the first games on December 9.
Southern Rocks, who are making a return to the elite domestic competitions for the first time since the 2013/14 season, will be on a bye and will only get into action against Tuskers in the next round of Logan Cup fixtures scheduled for 15-18 December.
The second round of the tournament will also see Rhinos and Eagles clashing in the other match before the Christmas break.
All matches will be played at venues in Harare.