Fri, Jan 20, 2006 - Page 22 News List

Zimbabwe pulled out of Test cricket for rest of the year

AP , HARARE, ZIMBABWE

Zimbabwe was withdrawn from Test cricket for this year by its government-appointed interim committee on Wednesday.

"The decision to suspend its participation in Test matches was reached by ZC after consideration of the recent performances by the national and A teams," Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) said in a statement issued after a meeting.

Zimbabwe was scheduled to travel to West Indies in April for two Tests and five one-day internationals, but ZC said it will ask the West Indies Cricket Board if its team can play only the limited-overs series.

But only last week, ZC chairman Peter Chingoka had assured WICB representative Tony Marshall that it would undertake a full tour, at a meeting of the International Cricket Council in Pakistan.

To no surprise, the WICB was taken aback by Zimbabwe Cricket's latest decision. WICB directors were expected to discuss the issue this week, chief executive Roger Brathwaite said in Antigua.

"We have just been made aware of the developments in Zimbabwe and we are now looking at the impact it will have," Brathwaite said. "The full financial impact cannot be assessed as yet either. The most pressing areas of concerns are the WICB's commitments to sponsors and television rights holders."

Zimbabwe also withdrew from Tests in 2004 after Heath Streak was sacked as captain by Chingoka for speaking out against selection policies, and 12 senior white players made themselves unavailable for selection.

Thirty-seven of the country's remaining leading players are refusing to play for Zimbabwe while Chingoka remained in charge, over claims of mismanagement and corruption.

But Chingoka remained firmly at the helm of cricket in Zimbabwe after Wednesday's meeting, as he was confirmed as Zimbabwe's member of the ICC executive board.

The meeting was expected to appoint a new captain to replace Tatenda Taibu, who resigned three months ago after threats and moved to Bangladesh. But ZC deferred naming a captain and vice captain until it resolved a long-standing dispute with 37 of the country's remaining leading players.

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