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Afghanistan’s T20I tour uncertain as dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed

KABUL (Agencies): The much hoped-for Cricket T20I tour to Zimbabwe later this month for the Afghan national team hangs in the balance after the Zimbabwe government this week imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani said the local cricket governing body had made a request to government authorities to host Afghanistan at the end of this month.

He said the Afghan team was keen to tour in order to get some much-needed game time. “We really hoped Afghanistan could come through (for five Twenty20 internationals), but the situation is difficult now because the (Covid-19) cases keep increasing,” Mukuhlani said.

“We had made an application (to the government) to host Afghanistan. There were two things: one, we had applied for Afghanistan to come and, two, also for club cricket to kick off. The challenge now is that if the athletes stay out of action for too long, the danger is that some will never recover. “We have seen some players failing fitness tests, and that’s the danger of staying out of action for too long. The good thing is that the (T20) World Cup in Australia has been postponed, so everyone has to reschedule. There will be more light after the meeting of the CEOs (of the International Cricket Council’s full members) in terms of how to reschedule the FTPs (Future Tours Programme).”

Apart from the Afghan team, Ireland and India also had planned tours to Zimbabwe in the next two months. Mukuhlani said that a bilateral series with neighbors South Africa was also being arranged behind the scenes between the two boards. But with the rising number of cases in Zimbabwe as well as in India and South Africa, plans for these matches might be shelved. But Mukuhlani was still hopeful that Afghanistan’s tour would take place. “They (Afghanistan) were willing to come. We remain hopeful, but that is increasingly looking difficult. Before the new measures, it was looking possible. But let’s see. We may just have to postpone.”

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