By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) is set to take the first step towards returning to international cricket next month when local players and technical support staff members undergo tests for Covid-19 ahead of the official start of training next Monday.
The local cricket governing body revealed on Tuesday that it has made arrangements for at least 40 playing and non-playing personnel to be tested across the country this week, becoming the local sports association to test its players ahead of return to action.
ZC is bracing for a busy schedule of international cricket with home assignments against India and Afghanistan scheduled for July and August before an away tour to Australia, subject to approval by the government and respective opponents.
“The Covid-19 medical examinations are part of ZC’s efforts to guarantee the health of players and staff members as well as to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the deadly respiratory disease.
“Cricket is one of the low-risk sporting disciplines that have been allowed to resume activities that, for now, are only limited to training,” ZC said in a statement.
“Subject to government approval, ZC is planning to host Afghanistan and India for limited-overs series between July and August.”
ZC’s selection panel has already drafted a 33-member training squad which is expected to start training on Monday.
The cricketers will be split into small groups of not more than eight and they will fine tune in their respective provinces, starting with strength and conditioning sessions for the first three weeks before focusing on cricket-specific skills training.
The players are expected to adhere to strict safety guidelines recently revealed by the Sports Ministry when it allowed low risk sporting activities to resume activities.
“To ensure that the risks associated with the cricket environment – field of play, training venue, changing rooms, equipment and management of the ball – have been mitigated before any training session or match, ZC has also put in place other preventative and containment measures that will be strictly observed.
“For example, the disinfection and cleaning of cricket facilities – including change rooms, toilets, spectator stands, offices, media centres, walkways and car parks – has already been done across the country and will be regularly carried out.
“Only one entrance will be used at each training venue and at that entrance there will be a mandatory temperature check on every player and support staff – if temperature is higher than the announced standard, the player or official will be immediately referred to the nearest testing facility for testing and excluded from training until they provide negative test results.”
ZC will also adhere to the new International Cricket Council (ICC) playing regulations, which include the ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball and allowing home umpires in international series.
“The use of saliva to shine the ball will be prohibited, while there will also be no sharing of personal and sports equipment and wear, towels or any other containers such as water bottles and cups,” ZC said.