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Zimbabwe land in Pakistan but head coach Lalchand Rajput pulls out

The former India batsman did not travel despite getting clearance from Pakistan's foreign office

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
Lalchand Rajput joined the Zimbabwe team after their failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup

Lalchand Rajput joined the Zimbabwe team after their failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup  •  Getty Images

Zimbabwe will be without their head coach Lalchand Rajput for the upcoming tour of Pakistan after he pulled out over travel restrictions. A statement from Zimbabwe Cricket said that the Indian embassy in Harare had sought exemption for Rajput visiting Pakistan, citing travel guidelines issued by the Government of India for its citizens.
The statement confirmed that in Rajput's absence, bowling coach Douglas Hondo would take charge of the team during the tour.
Rajput, 58, represented India in six international games - four ODIs and two Tests - between 1985 and 1987. He was appointed as Zimbabwe's full time coach in August 2018, after the team's failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
Zimbabwe are scheduled to play three ODIs against Pakistan in Rawalpindi, before moving to Lahore to play three T20Is. Earlier this month, ZC had sent a five-person delegation to Pakistan to assess the arrangements for the teams' bio-secure bubble. The delegation, comprising two health officers, one security in-charge, and two ZC executives began their inter-city travel after returning two negative Covid-19 tests within 48 hours of arrival in Islamabad. The Zimbabwe players, too, were required to undergo two tests: one in Harare prior to their departure yesterday, and another upon their arrival today.
This will be Zimbabwe's first tour of Pakistan since 2015, when they became the first Full Member to visit the country after the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent