ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) would like to respond to the letter by JM of Harare, “Tennis piece was spot-on”, (Zimbabwe Independent, April 28).
Anyone looking with an open mind at the history of cricket in Zimbabwe since Independence will include on the list of
major achievements two things:
* The implementation of a development programme that saw the game transformed from an exclusive preserve of a privileged minority to the national heritage of all Zimbabweans regardless of race, colour or creed; and
* The attainment of Test status.
Previously, cricket was played in less than 20 schools but today, thanks to the development programme, there are over 250 junior and senior schools that play the game throughout the country.
ZC drives this programme through the building of cricket facilities, the manning of these with over 80 full-time coaches around the country, the donation of playing equipment to the disadvantaged and the sale of subsidised equipment to others.
A key component of the development programme is the scholarship scheme. Boys from disadvantaged backgrounds who show cricket potential are offered these scholarships to fund them through high school and, because we believe in contributing to the national human resource base through the production of a well-rounded being, even through tertiary education.
For the first term this year, we spent almost $1 billion on the scholarships.
A number of Zimbabwe senior “A” team and national age-group players have benefited from this programme. JM is not correct to say that the likes of Tatenda Taibu “just went to the kind of schools that played the game”.
We gave them scholarships and sent them to specific schools such as Churchill in Harare (where Taibu went), Jameson in Kadoma, Milton in Bulawayo, Mutare Boys’ in Mutare and Victoria High in Masvingo where we have set up Centres of Excellence.
A phone call to any one of these schools will confirm this.
But ZC is not an island. Yes, we have run the scholarship programme as part of our honest endeavour as the body mandated to run the game in the country, but it would be amiss of us not to acknowledge the support of the likes of the Tobacco Industries Cricket Supporters Association (Ticsa), the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, the heads of the relevant schools and, of course, the parents of the beneficiaries for the success of the programme.
We invite JM to view our development documentary, a copy of which we have given the Independent.
We invite him/her after that to reflect on the thought from Albert Einstein that has inspired us: “All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.”