onstrates its ability to perform at a standard that does not risk undermining the integrity of Test cricket”.
In order for them to be able to judge when Zimbabwe’s performance merits a return to Tests, the committee felt the team first needed to continue in its current practice of playing a number of representative four-day matches. They also encourage fixtures for Zimbabwe against ICC Full Member A teams and Associates with, for example, the inclusion of Zimbabwe in the next edition of the ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2008 – a four-day first-class competition played by the likes of Kenya, Ireland, Scotland and Canada.
Although these recommendations still have to be discussed by the ICC executive when they meets in London towards the end of June, Zimbabwe Cricket officials, led by chairman Peter Chingoka, will be hard pressed to find support for a counter argument.
Although it has always been stressed that Zimbabwe’s Test suspension was at ZC’s own behest, there have been increasing concerns that the standard of the national side is now so poor that it threatens the ethos of Test cricket. Zimbabwe voluntarily suspended themselves from Test cricket in 2004 but returned to the fold in January 2005, losing seven out of eight matches by heavy margins. Added to this dismal record is the fact that they’ve won only one out of their last 19 One Day Internationals.
There is unrest, especially from the Associate members, that Zimbabwe continues to be funded as a full member of the ICC but fare no better – if not worse – than some of the associates who receive a fraction of the money.
ZC expects to gain US$11.5 million from the recently held World Cup in the Caribbean. While these issues remain, the public awaits the report following an investigation into charges of financial misadministration by the ZC board. Sadly up to now nobody outside the ICC and ZC has been allowed to know what it contains even though it was concluded last November.
ICC sees the light
FINALLY, officials on the ICC Cricket Committee have listened to reason, the newly-formed committee which is chaired by the Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar, have recommended that the ICC do not allow Zimbabwe to return to the Test arena "until such time as the team dem