Zim, Sri Lanka clash amid Covid-19 threats

14 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
Zim, Sri Lanka  clash amid  Covid-19 threats ZIMBABWE coach Lalchand Rajput

The Herald

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

THE Zimbabwe national cricket team players and officials yesterday returned negative Covid-19 results to give selectors maximum options ahead of the first One Day International against Sri-Lanka this Sunday.

The Chevrons, who had been in quarantine since their arrival in Sri Lanka on Monday, yesterday stepped out of their hotel confinement and conducted their first group training session in preparation for the three-match series.

The series is part of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. Assistant coach Stewart Matsikenyeri led in the training in the absence of head coach Lalchand Rajput, who tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Sri Lanka from his native India.

Rajput was asymptomatic and has been in isolation. In fact, the head coach is likely to miss the opening match as he completes the mandatory isolation requirements.

Matsikenyeri was assisted on the field yesterday by bowling coach Douglas Hondo, fielding coach Shepherd Makunura, team analyst Mufaro Chiturumani and fitness trainer Webster Karimanzira.

Zimbabwe Cricket spokesperson, Darlington Majonga, said the team was in high spirits.

“The guys are happy to be out of the quarantine. Today (yesterday) we had our first training session and all the players were in attendance.

“Fortunately for us, there were no positive cases reported after the PCR tests that were conducted before training. So everyone is looking forward to the series.

“The backroom staff is working with the team in the absence of the head coach, who is still in isolation. This means he could miss the opening game on Sunday because of the protocols here,” said Majonga.

Their hosts Sri Lanka were yesterday forced to drop three players that tested positive for Covid-19 when they named their final squad for the series.

Top order batter Avishka Fernando and the uncapped duo of Kamil Mishara and Janith Liyanage were omitted from the strong 17-member squad because of the Covid-19 positive tests.

Two seamers, uncapped left-armer Kalana Perera and speedster Lahiru Kumara, were dropped after failing fitness tests conducted last week.

Vice-Captain Dhananjaya De Silva will also not be unavailable as he has been granted paternity leave. The other notable absentees from the squad are Wanindu Hasaranga and Kusal Perera due to injuries.

Five new players were roped into the squad as replacements and these are Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep, Shiran Fernando and Kamindu Mendis.

Fernando is one of the three uncapped pacers in the squad for the white-ball games along with Nuwan Thushara and Chamika Gunasekara.

Sri Lanka will be led by captain Dasun Shanaka in the series that commences this Sunday at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

Zimbabwe Squad

Ervine Craig (captain), Burl Ryan, Chakabva Regis, Chatara Tendai, Jongwe Luke, Kaitano Takudzwanashe, Madande Clive, Madhevere Wessely, Masakadza Wellington, Mutombodzi Tinotenda, Muzarabani Blessing, Ngarava Richard, Raza Sikandar, Shumba Milton, Williams Sean

Sri Lanka Squad

Dasun Shanaka (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Minod Bhanuka, Charith Asalanka, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Thushara, Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrama, Dushmantha Chameera, Chamika Gunasekera

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