A section of Zimbabwe cricket players and staff batting in the corner of the suspended Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board have labelled the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) “power grabbers” daring Zimbabwe’s supreme sport governing body to do their worst as they will never submit to an “illegitimate” interim administration.
This comes after ZC interim managing director Vincent Hogg sent out a press statement calling on all employees to return to work on August 1 2019 or risk legal or disciplinary consequences.
“We found the statement condescending, reckless and inappropriate and we would like to make it very clear to Mr Hogg and the interim committee that appointed him that no amount of threats will cow us into submitting to an administration without legitimacy,” the players and staff said in a statement released through the suspended board’s mailing list.
“Our position is clearly informed by the fact that the International Cricket Council (ICC), the supreme custodian of the game of cricket, does not recognise the interim committee.”
“Besides, the interim committee – whose appointment led to Zimbabwe’s suspension by the ICC – has not only been insensitive to our plight as players and staff members but has also shown that the game and its future are not among its priorities,” the players and staff said.
The group added that the consequences of suspension have been disastrous, with ICC funding to ZC frozen and representative teams from Zimbabwe not allowed to take part in any events run or sanctioned by the world cricket body.
“Soon after its appointment, the interim committee scuppered the Zimbabwe women’s national team’s tour to Ireland and the Netherlands having failed to secure funding for air travel and allowances,” the players and staff said.
“Next, four Zimbabwe women cricketers – Mary-Anne Musonda, Tasmeen Granger, Sharne Mayers and Anesu Mushangwe – as well as their coach Adam Chifo were barred from travelling to the United Kingdom where they were supposed to be part of an ICC global development programme.”
“Now, Langton Rusere, the first Zimbabwean umpire to stand in the final of a major global cricket tournament, has become the latest victim of the ban imposed on ZC by the ICC after his name was dropped from the panel of officials for what would have been his breakthrough series between the West Indies and India.”
“As things stand, Zimbabwe will be barred from participating in both the women’s and men’s ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 tournaments, respectively scheduled for Scotland in September and Dubai in October.”
In a lengthy statement, the players and staff said they fear ZC will not be able to stage our domestic competitions nor to fulfil its Future Tours Programme and other international obligations, including the tour to Bangladesh for a T20 triangular series that also includes Afghanistan in September.
“In all this, we as players and staff are bearing the brunt of the suspension: we have not been paid our June and July dues, we are likely to go for months or forever without our salaries, our livelihoods have been stolen from us and our game is being choked to death while we watch helplessly,” the group continued.
“All the while, Mr Hogg and his handlers remain aloof, disinterested and unmoved by the devastation.”
The players and staff are now pinning their hopes on on-going talks between Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry and suspended ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani to find a lasting solution to the crisis.
They are demanding that the SRC, which appointed the interim committee, complies with the ICC directive to reinstate the ZC board led by Mukuhlani “so that cricket can go on.”
Meanwhile, senior players such as Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza have publicly backed SRC’s move to suspend the ZC board.
The national team is now deeply divided creating to distinct camps— one fighting in the corner of the suspended board and the other in the SRC corner.