Zimbabwe to scale back on Test cricket at home

Hosting fewer Tests and scaling down operations may be the way forward for Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) as it navigates a changing cricket structure and tricky financial waters. Zimbabwe will not be part of the new Test league that is set to start in July 2019, and are happy with the development. They do not intend to stop playing Tests altogether, preferring in future to play them away from home. Instead they will shift focus to limited-overs cricket.

In one way it is a formalisation of the status quo, in which Zimbabwe are already playing a greatly reduced number of Tests. “What we quickly realised was that hosting Tests is something that costs us a lot of money, and that is a commodity we do not have at the moment – in fact we owe people a lot of money,” ZC’s recently appointed MD Faisal Hasnain said.

“As things stand, it costs us money because we get almost negligible amounts from our current TV rights and sponsorships, and these continue till 2019. So if we were in a formal Test league, where we were forced to play Tests at home, we just would not be able to sustain it financially, unless we get substantial help from the ICC or from some other source – and the ICC Test fund no longer exists and other funding sources are few and far between.

"Obviously, we will continue to play Test cricket, but in our current circumstances we will try and play them away from home, primarily to save costs. We will concentrate on playing more ODIs and T20s, home and away, under the ODI league and the T20 open format, which will hopefully enable us to cut expenditure and potentially generate greater revenues.”

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