The ongoing unofficial Test match between Zimbabwe A and South Africa A in Harare has been suspended, after a directive from the Zimbabwean government in light of rising Covid-19 cases, but Zimbabwe Cricket is appealing for the fixture to be completed. One day of the four has been completed, with the match scheduled to end on Wednesday. Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) instructed an end to all sporting activities from Monday.
In response, Zimbabwe Cricket has agreed to put a stop to all cricket activities but will petition the government to allow the match to run to its conclusion in a biosecure environment and to permit the national men’s team to continue preparations for the tour of Ireland in August.
In a statement issued on Monday morning, ZC confirmed they have asked the SRC to consider their request to let some cricket activity continue.
“ZC has, however, lodged an urgent appeal to the Government, through the Sports and Recreation Commission, for permission to complete the ongoing four-day international match as well as to continue with preparations for other upcoming international tours that we had already committed to,” the statement read.
“As we make this request, the health and safety of our players, support staff and our communities remains our top priority.
“Having successfully hosted international and domestic tournaments at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic under the bio-secure environment – with the matches being played behind closed doors with no spectators allowed in the stadia and with all those directly involved undergoing several tests for the coronavirus and staying in secluded accommodation facilities – we believe we are well-equipped and experienced enough to safely resume with our cricket activities.”
Zimbabwe has fared relatively well in the pandemic with fewer than 40,000 cases in the country and deaths under 2,000. They have suffered a four-fold increase in case numbers over the last week and are under new restrictions to contain the spread of the virus, including a ban on all gatherings except funerals, which are limited to 30 people.
Neighbouring South Africa is also seeing a rise in Covid-19 case numbers and its National Institute for Communicable Diseases has declared the country to be in the third wave. Sporting activities are ongoing in South Africa, behind closed doors.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.