By Edward Makuzva
Following their consultative meeting in Harare earlier this week, the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) players and staff members resolved to learn that interim managing director Vincent Hogg had sent out a press statement calling on all employees to return to work on 1 August 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 Hogg and the interim committee that appointed him that no amount of threats will cow us into submitting to an administration without legitimacy. Our position is clearly informed by the fact that the International Cricket Council (ICC), the supreme custodian of the game of cricket, does not recognized the interim committee”, read the statement.
The statement said that 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 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”, said the statement.
The statement added that, 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.
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.
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. We also 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.
“We had hoped that the talks that we understand are ongoing between Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry and ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani would lead to a breakthrough in resolving this crisis as soon as possible.
“We have not lost that hope as yet and we implore the honourable minister, herself a decorated Olympian, to put an end to this tragedy and ensure that in the end cricket is the winner.
“And we believe it begins with ensuring the Sports and Recreation Commission, which appointed the interim committee, complies with the ICC directive to reinstate the democratically elected ZC board led by Mr Mukuhlani without any further delay for the suspension to be lifted”, said the statement.