© THE International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to suspend Zimbabwe from all cricket activities has sent reverberations across the country and beyond. During a full board meeting in England on Thursday, the ICC said Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) had failed to fulfil their obligation to provide a process for free and democratic elections and to ensure there is no government interference in its administration of cricket.
This came after the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended the newly-elected ZC board led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani last month. After hearing submission from ZC and the interim cricket board appointed by the SRC, the IC ordered the immediate reinstatement of the suspended board.
Funding for ZC was also halted while all Zimbabwean teams and officials were barred from taking part in ICC-sanctioned events. The ICC will meet again in October to look at the situation in Zimbabwe and in the event that their recommendations are not met, Zimbabwe will then be expelled as a Full Member.
However, while there seems to be no end in sight to the tuff war between the SRC and the suspended ZC board, it is the game which will suffer the most. Zimbabwe allrounder Sikandar Raza summed it up in one tweet shortly after the decision was communicated by the ICC.
“How one decision has made a team strangers. How one decision has made so many people unemployed. How one decision affect (sic) so many families. How one decision has ended so many careers.
“Certainly not how I wanted to say goodbye to international cricket,” Raza wrote on Twitter.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo yesterday, Raza was at loss for words and still tried to make sense of everything which has transpired. “We are all pretty heart-broken at the moment,” Raza said.
“We are still in shock to be honest, seeing how our international careers can come to an end like that.
“I am not coming to terms with it so easily, and I am sure my team-mates feel the same way.
“Where do we go from here? Is there a way out?
“I don’t know what is the way out. We have been told that we have been suspended but not told for how long. (A) two-year (suspension) could basically bring an end to a lot of careers.
“I don’t know the conditions but to totally suspend us from playing cricket, while you allow whoever is responsible to get our house in order, you basically stop cricket in Zimbabwe. I don’t know how one can do that but it has happened to us now.”
The Chevrons are now set to miss a number of important forthcoming international assignments because of the current cricket ban.
“If we miss the World T20 qualifiers, we will miss the T20 tri-series in Bangladesh (in September). What if the house (ZC) is not in order? Is the ICC going to recognise the interim committee or the old committee? What is happening?” Raza queried
“I don’t know where we are going as international cricketers. Is it club cricket or no cricket for us?
Do we just burn our kits and apply for jobs? I don’t know what we have to do right now.”
The Lady Chevrons have also been severely affected by the ban as their recent tour of Ireland was cancelled and are now set to miss the ICC Global Qualifier tournament set for Scotland in September.
At the qualifiers, the women’s cricket team had the shot to seal a place at the 2020 ICC World Cup in Australia as well as ODI status. “It’s the women who suffer first and suffer the most. We are living this reality now. We just want to play the sport we love. In peace.
“For Zimbabwe. You see what the @ZimGemsOfficial are doing, making Zimbabwe smile, that’s all we wanted to do too,” Lady Chevrons captain Mary-Anne Musonda wrote on Twitter.
Zimbabwe opening batsman Solomon Mire also announced that he was retiring from international cricket.
“I informed the players and technical staff of my decision at the end of the recent tour and wanted to formally announce my decision to retire from Zimbabwe Cricket in all formats with immediate effect,” he wrote.
“It is unfortunate and untimely however to leave under the current circumstances that are out of my control but I have decided to take a step in a new direction.
“Representing my country at the highest level for me has been the highest honour and service I could ever give and I have been extremely privileged to have been afforded the opportunity.”