Major shake-up in cricket

Enock Muchinjo

ZIMBABWE cricket is set for a major shakeup following a compromise deal that saw protesting white players returning to national duty after a year on the sidelines.



NT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Macsood Ebrahim, the convenor of the national team selection panel, is set to be sacrificed before the start of the new international season in August, in line with the truce agreed by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), a reconciliation ad hoc committee and the rebel players in February.


ZC also agreed to award the former rebels contracts of a period not less than the contracts they were previously on before the dispute broke out last year.


In February, the players signed contracts up to August, the timeframe set by the parties to finally reconcile their differences. ZC expressed willingness to consider up to three-year contracts for players dependent on individual ability and record.


The memorandum of understanding in possession of this paper, reveals that the ZC board has already agreed in principle to most of the demands made by the players, and is expected to endorse the agreements at a special board meeting on June 18.


ZC chairman Peter Chingoka told IndependentSport yesterday that the national association will only publicly discuss the contents of the agreements after the board meeting next month.


“Yes, there were key issues that were deliberated between us, the players and the ad hoc committee. At the moment, that’s all we can say about that document,” Chingoka said.


Selection and contractual issues are extensively covered in the document, with the setting up of a new selection panel by the beginning of the new international season in August being the highlight of the understanding between ZC and the players.


It was concluded that members of the selection panel should have represented the Zimbabwe national team or should have at least five years’ first-class playing experience or a level-three coaching diploma and five years as first-class coach. The decree subsequently disqualifies current convenor Ebrahim, who does not meet the criteria.


Ebrahim will also be ineligible to be on the selection panel on the basis of “dual elected roles of conflicts”, as he is also a ZC board member.


Former convenor Ali Omarshah is now favourite to bounce back as convenor, but suspended selector Stephen Mangongo, who also does not meet the criteria, is to be replaced by a new selector.


The panel will have no more than four selectors, with the convenor having

the casting vote when the panel is made up of an even number. ZC will also consider putting the selectors on the payroll “so that they are more accountable and professional”.


The rebels were assured that no racial goals or quota systems would be used by the selection panel, according to the document. The ZC board or any of its members would also not influence selection of particular players.

It was further agreed that all exclusions on selection for disciplinary, fitness or other reasons would be noted prior to selections taking place to avoid controversy.


Selection was one of the sticking points leading to the 10-month impasse between the rebels and ZC, after former captain Heath Streak and 14 other contracted white players walked out on the team disputing what they regarded as a “rigid and racially biased selection policy”.


ZC and the players also agreed to revive the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association, which became defunct at the height of the dispute, and the appointment of a players’ representative to be employed by ZC.

Previously the position was held by Clive Field before the standstill.

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