THE excitement among the players and technical staffers was palpable -- and understandably so -- as Zimbabwe trooped out for their first training session at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
They had spent three days locked up in quarantine ahead of their two-match Test series against Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates capital.
The Zimbabweans, who all returned negative results in the three Covid-19 tests that they have so far undergone, since their arrival in the country on Saturday, did not waste time putting in the yards during intense net and fielding sessions.
Zimbabwe captain, Sean Williams, said his team were happy to finally get down to business after the quarantine period.
"It feels fantastic, obviously, to blow the cobwebs out," he said.
"Sitting in quarantine is tough, especially for some guys who are experiencing it for the first time.
"So, it's fantastic having the sun on our faces and the wind crossing through our hairs.
"It's fantastic and amazing and the guys are having a good time."
Williams was impressed with the shift that his boys had put in on the first day of practice.
"It was really good to be honest," the skipper said.
"It was challenging and I think that's what we expect of our players -- to get strong through those challenging times, to run to the challenges and not from the challenges.
"I think it was a fantastic effort from the boys, as the basics of cricket were done well and that's what we want -- high standards of the basics."
Williams said he had "very high" expectations when Zimbabwe face Afghanistan in the inaugural Test series between the two sides.
"Obviously, I strive for perfection and it's something that I have to work for and work towards," he said.
"With the young guys it's a learning experience at the same time but if we do the basics at a high standard, I think we will do really well."
The first Test is scheduled for 2-6 March, with the second five-day match pencilled in for 10-14 March.
Zimbabwe Test Squad:
Sean Williams (captain), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza Butt, Regis Chakabva, Kevin Kasuza, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Prince Masvaure, Brandon Mavuta, Tarisai Musakanda, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Donald Tiripano -- zimcricket0.