ZIMBABWE are not sure yet if they will be ready to resume Test cricket in January as planned, although Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Ozias Bvute
says an “extensive” programme is in place to rebuild the national team.
Bvute, talking ahead of tomorrow’s one-day international series opener against Bangladesh in Harare, said Zimbabwe had quality players but was still lacking in experience.
A draw against Kenya and a 5-0 whitewash at the hands of West Indies is not the sort of result Zimbabwe would have wanted as they seek to re-establish a competitive team before probably resuming Test cricket in January 2007.
Zimbabwe voluntarily withdrew from Test cricket in January after almost all experienced players turned their backs on national duty.
“We are under no illusion about our quality and capability hence the decision to suspend Test commitments,” Bvute told IndependentSport. “Quality — we have what it takes. Experience — that is what we are looking for now in all these matches we are playing. It will not come easy but it has to come through performance and we appreciate that in the immediate future results may not come our way.
“You will note that even in the West Indies 5-0 was the overall result, an analysis of each ODI will reveal that our team was not overruled, given the stature of the position, for example, of Brian Lara, proven world class and considering retirement, versus Chamunorwa Chibhabha, barely out of his teens and with four ODI caps.”
Bvute was, however, non-committal about Zimbabwe’s readiness to resume Test cricket in six months’ time at a time Zimbabwe Cricket is battling to resuscitate first-class and national league cricket.
“We have a road map of intensive tours for both the senior and Zimbabwe ‘A’ teams to gain exposure and experience,” he said.
“We also have five standing squads formed on the basis of strength versus strength that will be playing against each other locally in between tours. Add to that all the activity in the 10 provinces, the school games and tertiary institutions programme we have initiated and you will see that we have the basis for continued growth and we will continue to re-evaluate ourselves to see if we are ready to resume (Test cricket).”
Bvute said Zimbabwe Cricket should not be fully blamed for the poor performance of the national team, arguing that liability should be contextualised. “We are mandated to run the game on behalf of the nation. However the issue of poor Zimbabwe performances should be seen in context,” Bvute said.
“When we are saddled with a situation of a narrow selection base that does not allow for competitive selection for national assignments should we be held responsible for the actions of previous administrators who failed to ensure continued throughput because they ran the sport along elitist lines as a preserve of the few?
“But since taking over we are redressing the imbalance and are up to the challenge of ensuring that the future is bright.”