THE stage has been set for the limited overs series between Zimbabwe and Pakistan in a bio-secure bubble after the two teams reported a clean bill of health.
They both underwent the last round of Covid-19 tests.
The series, which comprises three One Day Internationals and as many T20Is, will get underway tomorrow with the first 50-over match at the Rawalpindi Cricket stadium.
The tests were conducted on Monday, as part of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Covid-19 protocols, for the bilateral series.
The Chevrons have been in quarantine since their arrival in Pakistan last week.
They held closed-door training sessions at the Army Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi.
But all the players, officials and staff were moved into a hub in a five-star hotel in Islamabad, after the last round of the tests this week, to minimise the risk of contracting Covid-19 during the series.
According to the Pakistan Cricket Board, a total of 107 Covid-19 tests were conducted on the players and support staff of both teams, as well as the match officials, and they returned negative results.
“The tests were conducted on Monday, as part of the PCB’s Covid-19 protocols, following the assembling of the two sides in Islamabad,’’ the PCB said.
“All 107 participants have now entered the bio-secure bubble in a five-star luxury hotel and are now allowed to interact with each other and move freely within the bio-secure bubble.’’
All the six white ball matches will be played behind closed doors at one venue in Rawalpindi.
The PCB yesterday said they will announce the broadcast details of the day-night matches, which will begin exactly 9am Zimbabwean time, because of the time differences.
The three-match ODI series, which is part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Super League, will get the contests underway tomorrow.
Former Zimbabwe Under-19 prodigy, Wessly Madhevere, was bubbling with confidence after the Chevrons trained at the match venue, for the first time, to get the feel of what to expect during the series.
“First of all, I am so excited to be here in Pakistan for the first time. I have heard so many great things about Pakistan, the history, the cricket here,” he told reporters in a virtual press conference.
The 20-year-old all-rounder, fresh from the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa, made a positive start to international cricket after emerging as Zimbabwe’s best performer during the tour of Bangladesh early this year.
Madhevere, who has represented Zimbabwe at the last three ICC Under-19 World Cups, was impressive with the bat, notching up his maiden half ton while also showing a lot of promise with the ball.
“It’s exciting for me to be here and I am just hoping that I do well for the team; get some runs under the belt and make my name.
“I am not really sure if I make it in the starting XI but I am so excited to be here.
“It was a good practice session. Normally, I just try to take a look at the conditions and stuff. Every ground the conditions play differently.
“So, I just want try to look at my game and see where I can work on and try to perfect my game as much as possible.
“I am looking forward to both the ODIs and the T20Is and I hope to better my game,” said Madhevere.
Pakistan have a relatively strong squad although they opted to rest some senior players like Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Amir and Sarfaraz Ahmed for the limited-overs series.
Zimbabwe have never won a series against Pakistan and they will go into the contest as underdogs.
“They might say that we are underdogs but, personally, I don’t believe in that,’’ said Madhevere.
“Of course, the stats and stuff talk about that but from my own point of view I think we have a strong team and we have been competing over the past few years.
“We have a strong chance of winning games.”
The ODI series, which will be played tomorrow, Sunday and next Tuesday, will form part of the ICC World Cup Super League.
Winners will earn points towards qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
The T20Is will be played on November 7, 8 and 10.
Chamu Chibhabha (captain), Faraz Akram, Ryan Burl, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Carl Mumba, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Sean Williams
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Abdullah Shafiq, Abid Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Rohail Nazir, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz and Zafar Gohar.