For more than a decade, Zimbabwean cricket has hogged the limelight, unfortunately for reasons and much less to do with onfield activity.
Candid Comment Kevin Mapasure
For years, cricket was Zimbabwe’s pride on the international sporting scene, carrying with it measurable importance on the economy as it played its part in the tourism industry.
Due to reasons which include, but are not limited to, national politics, the sustained battle for the control of the game steeped along racial lines and the ostracisation by some powerful cricket nations, the game continues to suffer and is in decline.
England is an important entity to the development and survival of most cricket nations due to the financial rewards that accrue from playing them just as in the case of Australia and India.
The English Barmy Army are some of the biggest travellers and Zimbabwe’s tourism would benefit.
The political problems spanning from early 2000s are responsible for the ostracisation of Zimbabwe cricket by Australia, New Zealand and England.
But while there has been re-engagement between ZC and Australian and New Zealand cricket boards which has resulted in tours resuming, Zimbabwe is unfortunately still locked out of England’s financial fortunes as the British government ban on cricket tours continues.
Curiously, the Zimbabwean government has not tried to engage Britain in that regard.
ZC continues to suffer the consequences of that ban. despite Australia re-engaging ZC and agreeing to tour in August, England’s absence from Zimbabwe’s guests’ lists continues to hurt the game.
ZC is guaranteed of financial windfalls by hosting India and Australia in the prevailing situation, but that alone is not enough as such tours do not come every day.
ZC continues to rely on ICC World Cup grants and loans, while suffering losses from hosting nations such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand.
It has been suggested that the last time England toured Zimbabwe, the hosts were too weak for the cricket super powers’ time, but the same cannot be said now with the Zimbabwean team having vastly improved as to beat Pakistan and Bangladesh in Test cricket, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in ODIs in the last three years.
There are efforts towards political re-engagement taking shape as evidenced by the removal of facets of sanctions, but there are no moves to lift cricket bans.
It is time the British government lifted that ban for the sport to prosper.
The financial problems that have accrued from England and Australia’s cancelled and postponed tours in the last decade have contributed significantly to ZC’s current financial quandary.
There have been accusations of maladministration and misuse of funds by the current administration and somehow they need to restore confidence.
The fight by former players, administrators and politicians to wrestle control of the game has also negatively impacted on the sport. lobbying by those angling for positions within ZC for further Test suspension will not benefit anyone, not even them.