Former Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran has defended the quality of cricket in the Logan Cup.

The tournament has been dogged in recent years by issues of substandard cricket by often substandard cricketers. But Curran, who is coaching leaders Northerns, insisted that things were on the up.

"If you would have asked me four years ago if we needed five teams in the Logan Cup I would have told you that we didn't need that because of the standards. Not anymore," Curran told the local Independent newspaper. "I think what we need in the Logan Cup is to have five teams. It helps to widen the selection base. That's what you want.

"If you look at the four teams that are currently playing, they each have a squad of 16 players. Some of the players in the squads are not getting game time, and if you were to combine that with Under-19s, you will come out with a fifth side, a very good side."

Despite Curran's bullish comments, there remain concerns, not only over the standard of play but also of the facilities. The board took a controversial decision to stage all the games in Harare, explaining that this had been done for logistical and financial reasons, but this has not gone down well.

"The explanations don't add up," a Bulawayo-based administrator told Cricinfo. "We have been assured that there will be meaningful cricket played away from Harare later this year, but what this move has done is to send a clear message that the board has abandoned the game away from the capital.

"Even last year the bulk of the players who turned up for the so-called outlying provinces were bussed to games from Harare. The game continues to die away from there, and this latest stunt will only accelerate that decline."

Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare