The ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat, who is in Harare to watch the opening day of the Test between the home side and Bangladesh, has welcomed the return of Zimbabwe to Test cricket.
“To have Zimbabwe return to playing competitive Test cricket is a progressive step and I hope we will see good performances,” said Mr Lorgat.
“The future of Test cricket must be supported and I am encouraged by the positive signs of recovery we see in the game in Zimbabwe. It is incumbent on the entire cricket community to work together to promote Test cricket and that is why I wish to support this Test match.
“Much has been done to improve cricket in Zimbabwe, especially in the past two years. It has been fantastic to see some experienced and talented individuals becoming deeply involved, including former players such as Heath Streak, Grant Flower and Alistair Campbell along with Zimbabwe Cricket’s chairman Peter Chingoka and chief executive Ozias Bvute.
“As we know, in order to maintain a competitive Test team, there needs to be a robust first-class structure that develops players for international competition. Zimbabwe’s domestic system has been revamped and now needs to be nurtured and maintained.
“There is still a long way to go before Zimbabwe can compete consistently with the very best Test nations in the world, but this is a good start. They have been responsible by appreciating the need to be patient and gradual as they develop their team. I wish them well as they play this one-off test against Bangladesh and hope they develop to play a full Test series – home and away – against the top sides in the future.
“We want more competitive teams and so there is a need to focus on performance. That will, in turn, bring with it more fans, a rise in local interest and ultimately more players coming into the game. That is how we will continue to build a bigger, better global game.”
Following its voluntary withdrawal in 2005, Zimbabwe has not played the Test format of the game for nearly six years.
The ICC has been working with Zimbabwe Cricket to provide advice and support in order to make this return possible. Now there are encouraging signs of real recovery for the game in Zimbabwe and the ICC is keen to continue providing support wherever possible.