Zimbabwe in West Indies 2005-06 January 18, 2006

Chingoka insists Caribbean tour goes ahead

Cricinfo staff

A report in today's Barbados-based Nation newspaper claims that the West Indies board (WICB) has been assured by Peter Chingoka, Zimbabwe Cricket's chairman, that the tour of the Caribbean in April and May is still on.

Tony Marshall, the board's representative at an ICC executive meeting in Karachi last week, told the paper that he had discussed the issue with Chingoka. "He said that from his discussions with the players, he had every reason to believe that the tour was on," Marshall said. "I did ask him the specific question and that was his response."

The West Indies board has been worried that the tour might be cancelled, but even it goes ahead there are serious concerns that sponsors and the public will ignore what is certain to be a woefully one-sided series, and overseas television sales are likely to be non-existent. That could mean that the WICB, which is already heavily in debt, sustains a substantial loss on the tour.

But the two-Test, five-ODI series could still depend on whether Zimbabwe's players resume the strike they only ended a fortnight ago. There are reports that many of the 37 who walked out because of contract issues and objections to Chingoka remaining as chairman might still resume their action or even retire from the game completely.

Even if that doesn't happen and they field the best side available to them, it will still be an uneven contest. As one senior administrator said recently: "These days we can't even compete with the second XI of any of the Test-playing countries."