The erstwhile Zimbabwe Cricket Union (now Zimbabwe Cricket) governs cricket in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was elected an associate member of the ICC in June 1981 and participated in the World Cup for the first time in 1983, where they surprised the cricketing world with a victory over Australia in their very first match. Thereafter, Zimbabwe has been a part of all the cricket World Cups.
Zimbabwe were elevated to Test status in 1992 and faced India in their debut Test match. Once again, they performed beyond expectations and came close to a victory in that match only to make do with a draw. Their first Test win finally materialised against Pakistan in 1994-95 at Harare Sports Club, where they won by a mammoth margin of an innings and 64 runs.
A run of poor performances followed, but in 1998-99, Pakistan was yet again their victim as Zimbabwe won their first test series
, that too away from home. The One-Day format suited the team a lot better, and they kept producing the odd upset or two, the notable ones being in 1998 in the tri-nation series in India where they beat the hosts and Sri Lanka, to reach the the finals of a tournament for the first time.
Their best performance however came in Cricket World Cup 1999, where they defeated the likes of India and South Africa alongwith Kenya to qualify for the Super Sixes stage.
Thereafter, their cricket went into a spiral as players started getting discriminated against on the basis of their colour and political connections and the country's economy crumbled. During the 2003 World Cup, Henry Olonga and Andy Flower staged a black armband protest against the 'Death Of Democracy' in their nation.
This revolt against the Mugabe regime meant that both the players started getting life threats, and did not return to their country after the World Cup
, instead seeking temporary asylum in England. In April 2004, the sacking of Heath Streak as captain triggered a six-month crisis which threatened the future of the game and led to calls for Zimbabwe to be stripped of their Test status. A self-imposed one-year suspension from Test cricket followed soon enough.
Subsequent improvements in Zimbabwe's on-field performances, including a notable victory over Australia in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 group stages and an overhaul of coaching staff led to the side's Test status being reinstated in 2011.
On their return, they beat Bangladesh in their first Test and performed admirably against New Zealand , though ending up on the losing side. In 2011, they also had their first domestic T20 competition which had international foreign players like Chris Gayle et al taking part in it.
Some of the best players to have played for Zimbabwe are Dave Houghton, Duncan Fletcher, Andy Pycroft, John Traicos, Guy Whittal, Alistair Campbell, Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Eddo Brandes, Heath Streak, Neil Johnson, Murray Goodwin, Andy Blignaut, Paul Strang, Henry Olonga, Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, Raymond Price, Sean Ervine.