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Personal vendettas must be put aside

Independent SportView With Darlington Majonga

JUST two months ago we thought we would never live to see that again. But two months on, we have seen worse. Now it might not even take two more months before we

see the worst.

While an overrated national team batsman has a right to condemn the Independent as “f**ked-up”, it would be tragic if Zimbabwe’s cricketers don’t view their careers as such if the rot in the game is not stopped forthwith.

In August we were left gnashing our teeth in ire after what was supposed to be Zimbabwe’s best 11 possible seemed to have connived to humiliate the nation when they went down to an historic Test defeat inside two days at the hands of New Zealand.

Two months down the line, the same best players at Zimbabwe’s disposal, although disguised as Zimbabwe A, suffered another humiliating whitewash at home to lowly Kenya. We can’t even imagine Kenya are not a Test country.

If we felt depressed and humiliated by the New Zealand debacle, now we have every reason to be worried. It’s not a game anymore.

Whereas Zimbabwe’s pride has been shredded on the field of play, it’s the off-field politics that threaten the future of the game. If cricket is a gentlemen’s game, then away from the stumps that has not been the case in Zimbabwe.

The future of Zimbabwe’s game is under siege from smart hooliganism. People whose thinly veiled agenda is to sate their egos at the expense of the game have sabotaged Zimbabwe’s cricket.

Has anyone wondered why a full-strength Zimbabwe can’t beat Kenya?

Why has Heath Streak chosen county over country when only in February he pledged his future to the country?

Why are the so-called rebels, whose return to national duty was welcomed by all and sundry, disappearing sooner than their reasons for coming back have been achieved?

Has anyone wondered why some Zimbabwe Cricket board members bunked the union’s annual general meeting when they knew about it well in advance?

Why have officials who were “sworn enemies” suddenly buried the hatchet?

Why have Mashonaland clubs disowned the provincial board they elected in September just a month later?

What drove high-ranking officials, destined for influential posts at national level, to invade the pitch and disrupt a match in Mashonaland?

Is there any logic in banning six key clubs from Mashonaland when they provide the bulk of national team players?

What’s the motive of the rebellious clubs forming a splinter league?

Has anyone ever wondered why Phil Simmons, fired for pathetic results in August, has been silent until two weeks ago when he declared he was still national team coach?

Why has Simmons been the only scapegoat while others directly responsible for the team have been spared the flak?

Since when did players – most of them only too grateful to find themselves in the national team after an unfortunate player revolt – choose whom they want to be their coach?

Has anyone wondered why Zimbabwe Cricket and the players can’t agree on new contracts, two months into the new season?

Last but not least, is there any wonder Zimbabwe’s cricket is in a mess?

There are too many questions to be asked, but one answer applies to them all: the game is under siege from power-hungry narcissists who clearly are bent on accomplishing their bigoted and selfish agendas under the guise of safeguarding the future of cricket.

These people, whose machinations seem to be achieving their parochial ambitions, are cowards indeed. If their real agenda is anything to safeguard the future of Zimbabwe’s cricket, why haven’t these politicians used various official platforms to register their discontent with certain policies?

The irony of it is that most of these guys may have played a part in the decisions that they now find irregular. It’s the politics of convenience!

The most unfortunate thing – and very disturbing – is that players have been dragged into the politics. This might be the sucker punch on the tottering national game.

The petition by players demanding the reinstatement of Simmons did not only confirm what we already knew, but might have exposed a Machiavellian plot in which the cricketers are only pawns.

It’s their democratic right to say who they want to coach them as much as they have the right to say how much money they think they deserve for their service to the national team. But it would be very unfortunate if the players don’t realise the manipulative forces goading them into insurgence.

We still believe Simmons would have been a better coach were he not fond of hobnobbing with players at nightspots, which no doubt compromised his grip on the discipline and commitment of the cricketers.

It’s also regrettable that racism seems to be rearing its ugly head again. It’s absolutely unacceptable for anyone’s nationality or patriotism to be decided on colour or tribe.

Those with the interests of the game at heart would not racially abuse others, or worse still try to achieve their dubious schemes playing the racial card.

It would be in the best interests of the game for Zimbabwe Cricket to quickly address the looming disaster. This hooliganism – whoever is involved – should be dealt with pronto before the canker conquers cricket.

If the Zimbabwe Cricket board’s hands are tied, it would be progressive to call an all-stakeholder conference to digest all the problems and map the way forward. Personal vendettas have to be set aside for the good of cricket.

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