Elton Chigumbura, the Zimbabwe captain, has said the team's return to Test cricket will help its players become more competitive at the international level. Zimbabwe ended their World Cup campaign on a positive note, beating Kenya comprehensively at the Eden Gardens to finish with two wins, both against minnows, out of six games. They are scheduled to end their self-imposed isolation from Tests in August this year, when they take on Bangladesh followed by Pakistan and New Zealand.
"The next three months are going to be very important for us. We are all excited about playing Test cricket and we know it is going to improve us as players," Chigumbura said. "We have to put in hard work in the coming three months. We know where we are and what we need to do before we start our first game."
The transition to playing Tests, Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher said, was not going to be easy. The Tests against Bangladesh later in the year will be Zimbabwe's first since September 2005. "No doubt you might be wondering if we are going to be up for the challenge and the answer to that, honestly, is probably 'no'," Butcher said.
"The only place to learn to play Test cricket is actually by doing that. There is no other place that can prepare you for that."
Internal problems led Zimbabwe to exclude itself from Test cricket in 2006 when it failed to field a competitive team. Zimbabwe have played 83 Tests since 1992, winning eight and losing 49.
Zimbabwe's batting, which Butcher had said had been affected by the lack of Tests, stepped up against Kenya with Tatenda Taibu, Vusi Sibanda and Craig Ervine striking half-centuries. The spinners then defended 308 by skittling out Kenya for 147.
"We have to take the positives from today. When we go back home, we have to continue working on our batting," Chigumbura said. "I'm very happy with the win. The guys played well all round today, especially with the bat, which is something that we've asked for the whole tournament. You can't ask more from the bowling department, the guys have been consistent."