The Sunday Mail
Deputy Sports Editor
CHEVRONS skipper Chamunorwa Chibhabha says time in the bio-bubble has been tough on his men, but maintains that being away from family and friends will be worth it once the tour of Pakistan begins.
Zimbabwe will leave for their tour tomorrow after spending two weeks in isolation, which was a prerequisite for the trip.
The two sides are expected to meet in three One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 matches slated for October 30 to November 10.
The 50-over games will be part of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League and will be held from October 30 to November 3 in Rawalpindi.
The tour will then move to Lahore for the Twenty20 format, which is scheduled for November 7 and November 10.
Chibhabha described the bio-bubble experience as “unusual”.
“It has been unusual because our lives here basically revolved around the hotel and the grounds.
“It is either you were in your room at the hotel or at the grounds for practice.
“We are not allowed to do anything else; you leave your room only to go eat or go for training,” Chibhabha said.
The 34-year-old said being away from family was probably the worst part of isolation.
“I think being away from our families has probably been the hardest thing about this bubble, and I made it a habit to FaceTime with my family every day before I went to sleep.
“The other day we had a practice game at the grounds and they came only to sit at the Keg.
“All I could do was wave at them because we were not allowed to get close to anyone outside of the bubble, and my kids did not take it well.
“They could not understand that they could see their father out on the field, but he could not walk up to them for a hug or something.
“My wife texted me after, that my daughter was upset that I could not go up to her.
“It has all been very frustrating,” he said.
However, the Chevrons captain prefers to see the glass as half-full and maintains that the tour of Pakistan will be worth it.
“Isolation has been tough, but I guess we are living in Covid-19 times and this is the new normal.
“All we have is each other at the moment — a squad of 20 and the support staff — and it helped that we are able to keep in touch with our families.
“They could come to watch us practise and play, but with limits.
“Also, we are still in Zimbabwe and that has helped us learn to appreciate the bus drive through town, from the hotel to practise and back.
“The time alone has also helped the team bond.
“We had a few guys that brought their X-boxes and play stations; so sometimes we would get into one room to play some games, or play some football before or after practice.
“Missing home aside, the mood in the camp has been really great.
“The guys are really excited that we are now finally in a position to play international cricket again, and we can finally get this mess behind us.
“We have high expectations and hopefully we will be able to represent our country well,” he said.
Previews of the upcoming tour have been headlined by the return of seamer Blessing Muzarabani and debut call-ups for Faraz Akram, Milton Shumba, and Wesley Madhevere.
“We do have a couple of youngsters in the team and (we) went out of our way to make them as comfortable as possible.
“We didn’t want them to put too much pressure on themselves, but just to enjoy the experience as much as possible.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn from the guys, so that is a big positive.
“They haven’t let the Covid-19 pandemic and the circumstances of the situation pull them down,” he said.
On Muzarabani, Chibhabha said: “Having him back in the team has been a big positive for our bowling attack and the team as a whole.
“He brings a lot of experience from his county cricket playing days, and he has had a lot of new ideas to share with the boys,” he said.