Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has made arrangements for players and technical support staff members to undergo tests for COVID-19 ahead of the official start of training next Monday.
At least 40 playing and non-playing personnel were expected to be tested across the country this week.
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.
Subject to government approval, ZC is planning to host Afghanistan and India for limited-overs series between July and August.
In preparation for those potential tours, a squad of 33 players has been drafted and only those who get the all-clear after undergoing the COVID-19 tests will officially start training on Monday.
The players will be split into small groups of not more than eight and they will practise in their respective provinces, starting with strength and conditioning sessions for the first three weeks before focusing on cricket-specific skills training.
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.
All players and support staff, as well as the other ZC employees, are being provided with personal protective equipment in the form of face masks, tissues, wipes and alcohol-based sanitisers.
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.