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Old October 18, 2004, 06:54 AM
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Default No plan to snatch Test status from Bangladesh, Zimbabwe: ICC

The International Cricket Council on Monday said that a review of the structure of the sport was never aimed at taking away the Test status of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

"There has been a lot of speculation and concern, particularly in Bangladesh and to some extent in Zimbabwe, over the proposed changes but I assure the review was not to take away Test status of any country," said ICC president Ehsan Mani.

The ICC executive board after a two-day meeting in Lahore on Sunday cleared Zimbabwe cricket of racism charges and discussed the proposed changes in Test and international cricket.

"What we have been trying to do is try and improve Test and international cricket and have commissioned consultants who spent six months analysing cricket around the world, and the matter will be further discussed at a meeting in March 2005," said Mani.

Following Bangladesh's failure to win in 30 Tests since gaining the status in 2000 and Zimbabwe's recent failure to put up a fight at international level there had been calls to throw the minnows out of top level competition.

There were suggestions that weaker teams play in a second tier of Test cricket or confine Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to play Tests only at home, but the ICC have decided not to remove the weaker nations from the future tours programme.

Following April's rebellion of 15 white players led by former captain Heath Streak, Zimbabwe was forced to field a weaker team mostly comprising of black players and their Test status was suspended until the end of this year.

"The reason why Zimbabwe was pulled out from Test cricket was because they lost 15 senior players and suddenly they had to bring in youngsters who probably needed a year or two to reach the level," said Mani.

"As an intra-measure we, in agreement with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), decided to expose Zimbabwe youngsters to only one-day cricket and a lot of second string team tours.

" Zimbabwe will be going to Bangladesh in January 2005 and after that they are programmed to go to South Africa where they would continue to play Test cricket," said the ICC President.

Mani backed Bangladesh as a Test nation and hoped they would improve in future.

"All those who were there in the ICC Junior World Cup in Bangladesh this year know the passion of cricket in Bangladesh is second to none, its their number one sport and we hope there will be improvement," said Mani.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said he hope Bangladesh will start winning important games from next year.

"Bangladesh's position is different from Zimbabwe, their team remains intact and they have shown improvement, last year I said that it will take another two years for Bangladesh to start winning important cricket," said Speed.


Edited on, October 18, 2004, 11:58 AM GMT, by sports_fan_bd.

Edited on, October 18, 2004, 11:58 AM GMT, by sports_fan_bd.
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