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.
@ZimCricketv head coach @Lalchandrajput7 will miss the @TheRealPCB tour after the Embassy of India in Harare wrote to @ZimCricketv asking that he be exempted from visiting Pakistan. The Embassy of Pakistan in Harare had issued a visa to Rajput.#PAKvZIM | #LalchandRajput pic.twitter.com/LQ7LExKFic— Zimbabwe Cricket (@ZimCricketv) October 20, 2020
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