by Abdul Hussain
Zimbabwe’s national cricket team has been suspended by the International Cricket Council over issues regarding how the Zimbabwean cricket team has been managed, having concerns that the ICC money that is provided to them is being used for governmental purposes instead of the government according to ESPNcricinfo, and that Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the Zimbabwe Cricket board earlier in June 2019, a concern that Givemore Makoni raised which has been realised, under the guise of “government interference”, in which the SRC, and more specifically, Zimbabwe’s youth/sport/art/recreation minister, Kirsty Coventry vehemently denies via Twitter, though this has not changed the governing minds behind the ICC, as they reportedly told the forces responsible for Zimbabwean cricket that either they “unconditionally reinstate (paraphrased for grammatical correctness)” the suspended Zimbabwe Cricket board by “no later than 8 October 2019” or risk termination of its ICC status indefinitely.
This event has been followed up by one of its cricketers, Solomon Mire retiring from the Zimbabwean cricket team, with another cricketer from the same team, Kyle Jarvis hinting that he may also retire, fellow players Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl and Brendon Taylor expressing sadness over the fate, with Raza and Burl expressing not only the uncertainty of employment, but also disagreeing with how the ICC has handled this situation, stating that “I [Sikandar Raza] genuinely thought that it would have been ideal if one member of the ICC had come and overseen the election process, for the reasons SRC dismissed the board, while we continued to play cricket. I thought that would have been a very good quick fix.”, and not only the male Zimbabwean cricket team has been affected, the female Zimbabwean cricket team’s fate has been torpedoed by the unfortunate circumstances, with one of its players, Mary-Anne Musonda, understandably complaining about the lack of salaries, the employment uncertainty, and how this event has cancelled the tour against Ireland and its future matches and that four players, including Musonda, are banned from the Global Development Squad, and in addition to this, former Zimbabwean batsman, Grant Flower, felt that the “ICC has had enough of Zimbabwe Cricket” in reference to its handling of cricket matters.
As for Zimbabwe’s match schedules, India’s Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to wait for the ICC’s decision on Zimbabwe before making alternative arrangements as Zimbabwe was planned to play India in January 2020, and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has told Zimbabwe Cricket that their participation in a trilateral Twenty20 (a 20-over (1 over = 6 balls) one-day international cricket match format) International series which include Bangladesh and Afghanistan in September 2019 is dependent on whether the Zimbabwean board want to participate in the series, though considering the sanctions, it is reportedly uncertain, and all future matches, including the ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers for the ICC World Twenty20 2020 tournament are not going to be likely to be played as a result of the sanctions.
For a country to be savaged by political nightmares outside the cricketing world, like the overthrowing of Robert Mugabe, alongside the economic struggles that the country is still facing, such as hyperinflation to the point that the country has ongoing currency-related issues, and claims of corruption being so rife that “when you live there, you get used to it”, is there even a way out for Zimbabwe Cricket? Only time will tell, but with those aforementioned burdens weighing down on Zimbabwe as a whole, the odds of a comeback are realistically somewhat slim.