Pakistan wants Zimbabwe to play Tests

Published: Thursday, June 3, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi:Pakistan will await an International Cricket Council (ICC) verdict on Zimbabwe's future before deciding whether to host a tour for the crisis-hit African side, an official said.

"We would wait for the ICC meeting later this month as Zimbabwe's issue would be rigorously addressed there before we take a final decision on our home series against Zimbabwe," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive Ramiz Raja said on Thursday.

The tour tentatively planned for October this year was to play two Tests and five One-day games. However, reports from Zimbabwe suggested they were unlikely to play Test matches but only One-day games if and when they tour.

"We would want Zimbabwe to play both Tests and One-day games," said Raja.

Zimbabwean cricket was plunged deep into crisis following strikes by 15 white players led by their captain Heath Streak over disputes with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) last month.

The ZCU fielded a weaker team against Sri Lanka which lost all five One-day games, while Australia also wrapped up the three match One-day series after their two Tests were cancelled when the white rebel players refused to return.

The crisis led to calls for Zimbabwe be stripped of their Test status, granted in 1992.

Raja, however, said Pakistan would not support calls. "We will not side with the suggestions, it is not recommended because when you gave them the Test status it should be protected," Raja said.

"The ICC must give Zimbabwe and Bangladesh time to improve."

He added that Pakistan would incur financial losses should their home series against Zimbabwe fail to materialise.

"Pakistan will lose a good amount if our Zimbabwe series is not held because it would be hard to find a replacement team in the hectic international schedule," he said.

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