Australia, Zimbabwe may resume cricketing ties by early 2011

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Sydney, May 6 (ANI): Australia may resume regular cricket contact with Zimbabwe as early as next year, after the Kevin Rudd Government left it on Cricket Australia to decide on the matter.

Zimbabwe has not taken part in a bilateral series against Australia since 2004, when CA received plenty of criticism for sending the national team to Africa for a tour amid the worst excesses of president Robert Mugabe's regime.

Since then, successive Australian government's sanctions including the "downgrading of cultural links" have blocked Australia from playing Zimbabwe outside of ICC events, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

But the regeneration of Zimbabwe cricket, helped in large part by the influence of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who controls the country's sports ministry, may soon be helped by the resumption of regular matches against Australia.

Under the ICC's Future Tours Program, CA is due to host Zimbabwe in mid-2011, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has indicated that they would not stand in the way.

"Decisions about cricket fixtures and tours are matters for Cricket Australia to decide," a DFAT spokesperson told AAP.

"The Australian government will continue to provide advice to Cricket Australia on security and other matters that might affect those decisions," he added.

Cricket standards that had sunk to abysmal depths in the past are now showing considerable improvement, following the return of numerous former players to the fold.

In warm-up matches for the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean the team defeated both Australia and Pakistan. (ANI)

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