Marsh finds Zimbabwe~~s decision hard to digest

Published: Friday, June 11, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Zimbabwe coach Geoff Marsh said in Sydney that he was disappointed at the country's agreement to postpone their remaining four cricket Tests this year.

"It's disappointing to get to a situation like that," Marsh said on Friday from his home state of Western Australia, where he is on holiday for the next month.

Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) officials agreed during talks with the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai this week to postpone two Test in Pakistan in October and two at home to England in November.

The agreement was made so that Zimbabwe could focus on getting their game back into shape after damage caused by a players' dispute which saw 15 senior players go on strike after the sacking of captain Heath Streak.

Streak had objected to the selection policies of the ZCU which he claimed were compromising the success of the national team.

Marsh, whose contract expires at the end of September, said: "I understand the reasons why the ZCU has agreed to it and it's probably in the best interests of everyone involved, but the best way to improve the standard is to keep playing at that level."

The ZCU decided to scrap the two home Tests against Australia last month because of fears its national team would be thrashed by the world champions so badly that Test cricket's integrity would be at stake.

By taking a similar approach to the series against Pakistan and England, Zimbabwe will only play One-day matches for the remainder of this year.

Marsh's last engagement with the ZCU is to take his young side to the Champions Trophy tournament in England in September for which he has few goals other than to have his side be competitive.

He was hopeful Zimbabwe could make a sound return to Test cricket, but said it would take at least a "couple of years".

"It's going to take a while, you don't replace 30 players overnight," he said.

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