Atapattu reveals ~~chaos~~ of Zimbabwe tour

Published: Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 18:00 [IST]
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New Delhi:Sri Lanka's cricket captain Marvan Atapattu has warned international teams visiting Zimbabwe to expect the worst, saying his team's recent visit to the troubled African nation was "fairly chaotic."

"The facilities and organisation were probably the worst I have experienced in my playing career," Atapattu was quoted as saying in an interview with the cricket portal Wisden Cricinfo.

"To be honest, the tour was fairly chaotic. There were a whole lot of things that kept going wrong," he said.

"When we arrived, the hotels did not have air conditioning, and then there were problems with the water supply as well.

"We had to go without a shower until about 10pm after one game, and there was no water in the toilets for an entire night.

"On the cricket side, there was no communication. When it came to things like net practice, no one took any responsibility.

"There were no net bowlers and sometimes there weren't even any nets ready. Even the lunch during the last day of the Test match was 15 minutes late.

"One morning when we were batting, the fourth umpire, who is supposed to ask us which roller we want, used the heavy roller without asking," Atapattu said.

Zimbabwe is in danger of being suspended from Test cricket after a revolt by the country's top white players forced two Test matches against world champions Australia this month to be cancelled.

Atapattu, whose team played two Tests against a severely weakened Zimbabwe team earlier this month, wished the International Cricket Council (ICC) had stepped in earlier and stopped the matches as had happened in Australia's case.

"We should have been treated in the same way as Australia were," the Sri Lankan captain said.

"If the ICC agreed to consider stepping in and cancelling the Test series against Australia, then they should have done the same for us.

"It was difficult to motivate ourselves, but we had to concentrate on our performance and forget what was happening in their camp. It was not an easy tour."

The ICC executive board is expected to debate Zimbabwe's future as a Test nation at its annual meeting in London next month.

Ricky Ponting's Australia are currently playing three One-dayers in Zimbabwe. England is scheduled to tour there in October.

Sacked Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak last week urged all international teams to stay away from the strife-torn African nation until a solution is found to the domestic civil strife that has left the country's cricket in turmoil.

Streak's sacking as captain two months ago by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) led to a boycott by 15 white players who have since refused to play for their national side and have been sacked.

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