Campbell: Zim ready for Test return after 2011 World Cup

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Zimbabwe Cricket’s conveyor of selectors Alistair Campbell says Zimbabwe will be ready for a return to Test cricket after next year’s April World Cup.

Responding to questions during a media conference just before the national team’s departure for the West Indies, Zimbabwe Cricket’s chairman of Selectors Campbell said Zimbabwe was now on course to reclaiming its test status.

He said a lot would depend on the visit by officials from the International Cricket Council (ICC) early next year which will be the defining moment on whether Zimbabwe is ready or not.

“We are definitely in the right track for a return to Test cricket early next year but a lot will depend on the visit by the ICC delegation which will be visiting the country early next year.

“We are hoping that by that time we will have convinced them that we are prepared and we will soon be engaging some top Test playing nations with the view of playing their “A” sides and we have already started that as we will be playing the West Indies’ “A” team on April 16,” said Campbell.

“The visit will also ensure that we adequately prepare for the sustainable development of the game so that we become consistent in our approach to the game both on the management and technical side of the game and so far we are in the right direction,” he said.

The ICC last year appointed a “Task Team” on Zimbabwe to undertake a comprehensive review of the cricket structures in the country and to work with Zimbabwe Cricket to identify constructive strategies for improvement.

The team was headed by the ICC director from the West Indies, Dr Jullian Hunte and comprised the former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Rantunga and ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat.

It came up with recommendations which among them included a proposal for the revamping of the domestic structures by Zimbabwe Cricket and it was fully endorsed by the ICC executive board in April last year.

Campbell’s appointment as the chairman of selectors was also part of the ICC recommended restructuring of the cricket in Zimbabwe where former players were being brought back into mainstream cricket.

The domestic structures have now been restructured with the introduction of the franchise league system which saw the successful hosting of the Logan Cup, the Faithwear One Day International competition and the Stanbic Twenty 20 tournament.

Zimbabwe Cricket in February announced that it was targeting a return to Test cricket in 18 months after not having played a Test match since September 2005 after it took self-imposed exile in January 2006.

Campbell played 60 Tests and 188 ODIs for Zimbabwe as a top-order batsman. He scored 2858 Test runs at 27.21, and 5185 in ODIs at 30.50.

He took over the captaincy in 1996 and led the side to some notable successes, including the country’s first away win in Pakistan in the 1998-99 season.