Zimbabwe could be as far as two years away from a return to Test cricket after their current situation was debated at the ICC board meeting in Perth.
On the first day of the meeting an ICC-appointed task team presented an interim report on the state of the game in Zimbabwe, who voluntarily stepped away from Tests in 2006.
The team was headed by Julian Hunte, the president of the West Indies board, and included ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat. They visited Zimbabwe in November 2008 to inspect facilities, infrastructure and to speak to various stakeholders and the outcome was that they were still a minimum of six months away from being ready for Tests again, but in reality that is likely to be much longer.
"Pending submission of that final report, the board was told that none of the stakeholders spoken to during the visit were of the view that Zimbabwe was ready to return to Test cricket, with timeframes proposed ranging from six months to two years or more," a statement said. "The board was informed that both the BCCI and Cricket South Africa (CSA) had offered playing and administrative support to Zimbabwe Cricket."
The support of Cricket South Africa is a change of policy after they cut ties in June 2008 citing "the worsening situation in Zimbabwe". However, at that time Norman Arendse was CSA president but he resigned in September. While Arendse was openly critical of the situation inside Zimbabwe, other senior officials have steadfastly backed chairman Peter Chingoka and the Zimbabwe board and have gone to great lengths to help Zimbabwe's young players get as much exposure to quality cricket as possible.
Zimbabwe, who are currently playing a one-day series against Kenya, will not be appearing at this year's World Twenty20 in England after pulling out of the event. It became clear that the UK Government would have been unlikely to grant visas for the team given that they had already cancelled the planned bilateral series next May.
Chingoka is not present at the ICC meeting in Perth because the Australian Government were also expected to turn down his visa request, although it is unclear whether he ever actually applied for one. Wilfred Mukondiwa is appearing in his place.