The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe senior men’s cricket team held its first training session in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Tuesday in preparation for the two Tests against Afghanistan.
When the team landed in the UAE on Saturday, they went into quarantine where they were tested daily for the coronavirus. After all members of the delegation tested negative on all the three days, the players were finally allowed to take to the field and fine tune for the two Tests against Afghanistan.
A statement from Zimbabwe Cricket said the players and staff were excited to come out of quarantine.
“The excitement among the players and technical staffers was palpable – and understandably so – as Zimbabwe trooped out for their first training session at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, having spent three days locked up in quarantine ahead of their two-match Test series against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates capital,’’ read the statement.
Zimbabwe captain Sean Williams said his team were happy to finally get down to business after the quarantine period.
“It feels fantastic obviously to blow the cobwebs out, sitting in quarantine is tough, especially for some guys who are experiencing it for the first time. So, it’s fantastic having the sun on our faces and the wind crossing through our hairs. It’s fantastic and amazing and the guys are having a good time,’’ Williams said.
The skipper was pleased with the work rate from the players on the first day of practice.
“It was really good to be honest, it was challenging and I think that’s what we expect of our players – to get strong through those challenging times, to run to the challenges and not from the challenges. I think it was a fantastic effort from the boys, as the basics of cricket were done well and that’s what we want – high standards of the basics,’’ he said.
Williams said he had “very high” expectations when Zimbabwe face Afghanistan in the inaugural Test series between the two sides.
“Obviously I strive for perfection and it’s something that I have to work for and work towards. With the young guys it’s a learning experience at the same time but if we do the basics at a high standard, I think we will do really well,’’ said Williams.
The first Test is scheduled for 2-6 March, with the second five-day match penciled in for 10-14 March.
Zimbabwe Test Squad: Sean Williams (captain), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Kevin Kasuza, Wesley Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Prince Masvaure, Brandon Mavuta, Tarisai Musakanda, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Donald Tiripano