Zimbabwe is once again headed on a collision course with cricket superpowers, England and Australia, when the country returns to Test cricket in May with a home series against Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe has declared its readiness for a return, but opposition from England and Australia has always been simmering.
With a possible election imminent, and rising fear of political violence, efforts to dine with the world’s best in Test cricket might suffer a major drawback as Zimbabwe is facing a continued snub by the powerhouses who have always regarded these shores as an unsafe destination.
The country is getting ready to take a headlong plunge into the Test waters they last tasted six years ago after a row between the government, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and senior players led Zimbabwe to withdraw its Test status.
Zimbabwe marks the much-awaited return to Test cricket with a date against Bangladesh in May in Harare.
While the International Cricket Council (ICC) has commissioned the country to regain its test status, it is still yet to be seen whether England and Australia will cling on to their resolution of not to tour Zimbabwe.
But chances are highly likely the snub will continue.
Speaking on Friday evening in Gweru at cricket indaba organised by the Sports Writers Association of Zimbabwe (Central Region Chapter), ZC publications manager Hope Chizuzu wore a brave face and lightened fears of a possible snub by Zimbabwe’s old foes.
“The ICC has agreed that Zimbabwe should regain its Test status so we are not reading much into them (England and Australia) declining to tour the country. The ICC will handle all those issues because it does not matter to Zimbabwe,” said Chizuzu.
Last year in October, Zimbabwe A played a non-official test series with New Zealand A with the tourists giving locals a good run of their money.
Although the series was a low key meeting, it did gauge Zimbabwe’s readiness for a test return.
The country returns to the test arena without a genuine pace bowler of Neil Johnson’s caliber and with an inconsistent top-order batting line up which quickly succumbs in ODIs.
ZC board member and MidWest Rhinos franchise players’ affairs manager Freddy Kapuya does not entirely believe Zimbabwe is ready for test cricket although he does not doubt the country’s pedigree.
“We are nearly there,” said Kapuya. “I think the franchise system has prepared us for Test cricket. When we withdrew from Test cricket we wanted to put our house in order. Like a normal family we had in-house problems but now we have solved everything.
“Nothing is important like putting on a national team jersey with that bird and playing with the whole world watching,” he said.