Zimbabwe aiming Test return next year

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Zimbabwe are aiming their return to Test cricket in November next year, coach Kevin Curran said.

Zimbabwe withdrew from the Test circuit in January this year and commissioned an independent investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement by their cricket board, a move backed by the International Cricket Council.

But, Curran is keen to see his players competing again on the highest stage.

''We will be playing the West Indies at home in November next year. We think that will give us time to develop our young team and we also believe that the West Indies would be at the right level of play for our return to Test cricket,'' Curran told South African Press Association.

Zimbabwe are currently touring South Africa to play three ODIs as preparations for the qualifying round Champions Trophy in India.

The first ODI starts on Septembert 15 in Bloemfontein.

Curran said it was important for Zimbabwe to get as much international exposure as possible before their return to Test arena.''It is important that we get as much exposure at the top level as possible.

''It's a very young team -- the average age is about 21 -- so we need to play lots of competitive cricket. As these players gain international experience, they will improve and become more competitive,'' he said.

The coach said they are planning a number of four-day matches against teams like South Africa 'A' and other 'A' sides.

''If they can get 30 or 40 international caps under their belts they will be much better prepared for the return to Test cricket.

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