22 June 2018

Zimbabwe: Zim Cricket Limps On

A leading Zimbabwean cricket official has pleaded with Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Kazembe Kazembe to look at the bigger picture and ensure that the country was not put on alert for a possible suspension from the International Cricket Council, at the end of the month.

Zimbabwe Cricket is facing the possibility of being plunged into the wilderness should the ICC leaders put the country on notice for a possible suspension when the international game's leaders meet in Dublin, Ireland, from June 28.

The ICC have raised the red flag over the country's continued membership because of concerns that a debt-dissolution formula which the world cricket leaders put together to deal with ZC's mountain of debt is not receiving official backing in this country.

The Herald exclusively revealed this week that Zimbabwe could be put on notice for suspension from the ICC, by the end of this month, in the event that an ICC-based debt-dissolution formula does not get the required official guarantees from the country's authorities.

The ICC funding for ZC, which is currently pegged at $9 million a year, will be whittled down to just about $1 million a year in the event Zimbabwe is thrown out of the ICC and there are fears a number of players and technical staff will leave the country.

"Thanks for the coverage this week which highlighted our plight and how the game is in jeopardy," a leading Zimbabwean Cricket official, who chose not to be identified, said yesterday.

"I hope the Minister and the powers-that-be read your articles and now understand what their support would mean to the game."

The official said there was a real danger cricket in this country could plunge into the darkness in the next two weeks and the sport, which is now the second most popular sporting discipline after football among local fans, could be hit by a tsunami and might never recover again.

"This is a very serious and delicate situation and there is need for the powers that be to look at the bigger picture because the game, itself, is now in danger of being pushed into the abyss for good and we will all be blamed for the mess," he said.

"We can argue here and there and find each other again but when the future of the game is now uncertain, as appears now if nothing is done to help, we have to come together and ensure that we bury our differences.

"We owe it to the next generation, our kids, to ensure that we save the game and I can't understand that even the Sports Commission are not seeing the desperation that the game is in right now, regarding the threats to its future, if we don't give the ICC the assurances they need."

Traditional supporters of Zimbabwe Cricket, like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are believed to have been angered by the lack of action in this country, to ensure that a solid presentation backed with what the ICC require is provided in Dublin at the end of this month, and are now withdrawing their support.

"Zimbabwe cricket has always had challenges in the past, here and there, but this is the big one and that is why I am saying that our leaders have to look at the bigger picture right now and, once we save our game, we can look at other smaller issues," he said.

Meanwhile, former Zimbabwe captain and convener of selectors, Tatenda Taibu, who is now based in England, is leading a crusade calling on players who were drafted into the Chevrons for the series against Pakistan and Australia to snub the call.

Taibu has been arguing that Brendan Taylor, who has been leading the battle for the formation of a players union, was sacrificed by the Zimbabwe Cricket authorities when his name was not included in the squad for the series.

The Liverpool-based cricket administrator said those players who have agreed to play for the Chevrons were stabbing Taylor in the back.

"I never taught you to be divided," Taibu said in a tweet that was directed to a number of players. "I taught you (principle).

"@BrendanTaylor86 needs u (you) 2 (to) stand with him, u're (you're) the ones who'll benefit from his stand.

"If you're divided you'll finish your careers and have nothing to show (for it). What is this? @BrendanTaylor86 tries to do the right thing by helping to set up a players union, which all the other countries have. What do the selectors and ZC do, exclude him from the series.

"Shame on ZC. Everything that has a beginning has an end."

However, it has emerged that ZC asked all players to avail themselves for the matches against Kenya or, those who couldn't do so, to provide justification why they could not make it.

ZC consultant, Vince van der Bijl, also assured the players that their grievances would be met, by the end of next month, and they needed to return to work, which led the likes of Kyle Jarvis and PJ Moor, to start playing for the team again.

"Thank you for joining me yesterday at Old Hararians Sports Club for a discussion," the consultant, who is South African, wrote on June 14.

"You have specifically requested Zimbabwe Cricket to put in writing the plan to get your salary payments and monies owed up to date as soon as possible.

"As discussed with you yesterday, Zimbabwe Cricket continue to work hard to right the current cash flow problems and we are appreciative of your support during this difficult period. Our commitment is to pay outstanding money up to your June salary by the 25th of July.

"Your July salary will be paid by the end of July. We have purposely been conservative with these dates and are hopeful that the monies to be paid by end July would be paid earlier in the month.

"Your Sri Lanka match fees that are owed, we believe, would be paid through at the end of June. This is a difficult time for all involved and thank you for your patience.

"All involved at Zimbabwe Cricket at every level are working hard positively to bring Zimbabwe Cricket into its previously strong position as a global cricket nation."

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