Chingoka hopeful on tour of England
Zimbabwe will look to the ICC to ensure that their future tour commitments go ahead as planned. Recent reports suggest that the UK government are uneasy in allowing Zimbabwe to tour the country as planned in 2009 and might not let the tour go ahead. However, while the government wants the series to be scrapped, it will allow Zimbabwe to take part in the ICC World Twenty20, scheduled to take place in England in 2009.
Peter Chingoka, president Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), arrived in Karachi with the Zimbabwe team and said that he hopes the Future Tours Programme (FTP) will dictate the fate of the tour.
"Our focus is more about ICC, about ensuring that the FTP remains sacrosanct," Chingoka told Cricinfo. "We're looking to play more as opposed to excuses to not play each other. It's important that the family looks after every member and that all nations look after one another so that the business gets stronger and bigger. Otherwise we are not being true to the globalisation of the game."
Zimbabwe's tour comes at a time of increasing political uncertainty and violence in Pakistan: two days before their arrival a suicide bomb killed more than 20 people in Lahore, the latest in a series of such attacks throughout the country. Chingoka, however, said the team was focused on playing cricket.
"We're just focused on what we have to do. We have a job to do. Our team is coming here without any hesitation because the business of cricket must move on. We've been in touch with the PCB and they ensured us that we will be looked after. There is no reason to doubt that.
"We should all try to fulfill the FTP and in fact play each other more."
Zimbabwe play a four-day match against a Patron's XI in Karachi before taking on Pakistan in a series of five ODIs. More important than the results, Chingoka said, would be the opportunity for the team to further their progress back to eventual Test status.
"Zimbabwe will play in conditions they are not accustomed to playing in. We have been playing three and four-day cricket lately but it is very important for them to play here. There have been times when we have struggled against spin bowlers and here is an opportunity to work on that.
"After the matches we hope they will talk to cricketers from other side and glean more and more from them. This four-day match is very important as part of our process to get back to Test cricket."
Zimbabwe have welcomed back in recent times some valuable members to their side, including former captain Tatenda Taibu and veteran left-arm spinner Ray Price. Alongside the likes of Brendon Taylor, Elton Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya, the captain, they have put together a couple of encouraging international performances recently, including wins over Australia at the ICC World Twenty20 and an ODI win over West Indies.
"Chigumbara is a quality allrounder, Taylor is a good player and we have a number of other promising players as well," reasoned Chingoka. "We hope to be able to put up some solid performances in Pakistan and give a good account of ourselves."
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo