The ICC have issued a statment denying rumours of an investigation into match-fixing in the recent tri-series in Zimbabwe. According to ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed:
"It is disappointing to see such wild and unfounded accusations circulating in the media and we have taken the unusual step of commenting on this speculation as we do not wish the reputation of the sport, the teams or the players to be tarnished by utterly inaccurate media reports."
Click through for the full statment.
Following a ZC board meeting on Monday, a number of changes have been made to Zimbabwe's selection committee. Macsood Ebrahim is replaced as Head of Selectors by former Mashonaland and Zimbabwe A player Bruce Makovah, although Ebrahim remains on the committee along with Ethan Dube and HSC curator Robin Brown. Richard Kaschula lost his place on the panel.
Also at the board meeting, Tatenda Taibu and Heath Streak were confirmed as captain and vice-captain respectively, Stephen Mangongo was appointed joint coach of Zimbabwe A, and Walter Chawaguta was placed in charge of the Under-19 side ahead of the upcoming Afro-Asian and U19 World Cup competitions.
Zimbabwe won toss and elected to bat on day one of the 2st Test against India in Bulawayo. Terence Duffin and Charles Coventry were given their test debuts, while Heath Streak was fit again after surgery on his shin last week.
Fall of Wickets & Highlights
25/1 Taylor, 13, caught at forward short leg by Gambhir off Zaheer - inside edge off his pad
45/2 Masakadza, 14, caught behind (Karthik) off Kumble
Ebrahim was dropped on 1 with the score at 47/2 (17.3 overs) - his next 2 deliveries faced went for 4.
Terence Duffin reached 50 on his test debut, the 5th Zimbabwean to do so.
119/3 Duffin, 56, lbw from Pathan
124/4 Ebrahim, 24, caught & bowled Pathan
193/5 Streak, 27, caught by Dravid off Kumble after edging to slip
197/6 Coventry, 2, lbw from Kumble. Sadly not as good a debut as Duffin, but after his good performances in the one-day series he was probably due some bad luck
210/7 Blignaut, 4, lbw from Zaheer
At close of play, Zimbabwe were a respectable 265/7, with Taibu (61*) and Dabengwa (35*) still at the crease. Pick of the India bowlers were Khan (3/68) and Pathan (2/50). Overall, honours were shared for this day's play - which is probably more than most people expected from Zimbabwe. Hopefully their good start will continue tomorrow.
Scorecard: BBC Sport
Indian media reports the presence of ICC officials in India investigating match-fixing, with the recent Videocon tri-series being one of the series being looked at. It seems members of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit have met 'unofficially' with the Central Bureau of Investigations in New Delhi. The Times of Delhi also reports April's ODI between India and Pakistan in Ahmedabad as being one of the matches probed.
The ICC have confirmed the presence of their officials in India, but wouldn't confirm what they were there for:
"It is routine for the ACU officials to visit member countries, however it is organisational policy not to speak about any ongoing investigations."
The ICC have formally responded to the letter issued by UK government ministers Jack Straw and Tessa Jowell, that called for a boycott of Zimbabwe. Click "Read more..." for the full reply, but the bottom line is that if any governments want a boycott, it's up to those governments to implement it, not the ICC. In addition to reprinting their reply to Straw and Jowell, the ICC statement adds:
"The ICC has also received letters from the Governments of New Zealand and Australia in the past two months raising similar points to those raised in the letter from the UK Government. The FTP was discussed at the most recent meeting of the ICC Board on 29 June and no member sought to have this policy reviewed."
Zimbabwe Cricket's AGM took place in Bulawayo earlier today, but it may be a while before any news emerges from the meeting after the media were reportedly locked out. While no significant changes were expected to the ZC board, Sunday's players' statement is likely to have sparked some heated debate. An official press conference was due to be held after the meeting, but as yet there's no news.
Zimbabwe meet India in Bulawayo tomorrow in the first of two tests between the two countries. Zimbabwe will be hoping to improve on their outings against New Zealand - and based on their performance in the one-day series, that shouldn't be a problem - while India will be hoping to stamp their authority on the series as soon as possible.
CricInfo has what it describes as an exclusive regarding the ongoing dispute over new contracts between ZC and the players, along with a statement from the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers' Association (click Read More... for the statement). Key points are that, while the players are unhappy with the contract on offer and the recent publication of some of the terms in the Zimbabwean press, they will play the India test series while negotiations continue; and that press reports have been misrepresenting what is on offer. While the ZPCA statement is extremely long, it's well worth reading.
Zimbabwe Cricket have named a 13-man squad for the two tests against India. The main concerns when whittling it down to 11 players will be Heath Streak's fitness following a minor operation last week, and choosing between the out-of-form Hamilton Masakadza and Sean Williams. Terence Duffin and Charles Coventry look set to get their test debuts.
India, meanwhile, are looking to dominate the series in much the same way New Zealand dominated their two tests, but vice-captain Rahul Dravid admits to not knowing much about their opposition:
"Streak and Taibu have been around for a while, they have got some experience. But, to be honest, we don't know much about the other cricketers."
Tatenda Taibu (capt/wkt), Andy Blignaut, Charles Coventry, Keith Dabengwa, Terence Duffin, Dion Ebrahim, Blessing Mahwire, Hamilton Masakadza, Waddington Mwayenga, Heath Streak (vice-captain), Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.
India opted for batting practice in the final day of their tour match in Mutare, eventually declaring on 572/9 and leaving the Zimbabwe Board XI just enough time to progress to 96/1, leaving the match drawn. A possible problem for India ahead of the test series was the retirement of Sourav Ganguly on 46 with an elbow injury which has apparently been troubling him since the Videocon tri-series.
Full scorecard at CricInfo. Next match is the First Test, which kicks off in Bulawayo on Tuesday.