South Africa v Zimbabwe, 1st Test, Cape Town, 1st day March 4, 2005

Houghton calls for Zimbabwe to suspend Tests

Cricinfo staff

Jacques Kallis strikes on his way to 4 for 13 © Getty Images

Dave Houghton, the former Zimbabwean captain, has said that Zimbabwe should withdraw from Test cricket if they are to avoid endless morale-sapping drubbings.

Reacting to Zimbabwe's dismal performance on the opening day of the Newlands Test when they were bowled out for 54, Houghton said on Sky Sports that most of the players were "technically not good enough at this level".

And Houghton, who scored a century in Zimbabwe's inaugural Test in 1992-93, and finished with a Test average of 43, elaborated: "The problem is that they are not sure what to play and what to leave. They don't know where their stumps are." Citing Stuart Matsikenyeri's wicket as an example, Houghton explained that his dismissal came about because "his feet were outside leg stump and he was playing a good two feet outside off stump ... he simply doesn't know where his stumps are."

Houghton said that lack of experience was to blame. "You should prepare yourself by coming through the ranks in first-class cricket. These guys are coming out of schoolboy sides straight into Test cricket. I think Zimbabwe should come out of it for a little while and play against Bangladesh, Kenya and the A teams."

And he concluded: "It's time someone told them the truth - you can't have this cricket on the international arena. People sitting back and watching this have got to be saying that this is wrong ... however much they [the authorities] need their plum jobs."