They say cricket is a gentlemen’s game, but nothing seems to suggest that locally at the moment.
What, with the mudslinging, counter accusations, conspiracy theories and farce that has engulfed the corridors of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) since the Sports and Recreation Commission gave the directive that all national associations should have selection panels comprising individuals who would have played for the country at the highest level.
The decree by the Sports Commission, an arm of the government, ignited war between the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart and Convener of Selectors Givemore Makoni, with the latter accusing Coltart of being racist because the minister wanted to push out blacks from cricket through the directive. Makoni alleged that there are very few blacks who played at the highest level in the country at the moment, therefore Coltart’s motives were meant to benefit whites.
Coltart has since dismissed Makoni’s assertions as frivolous arguing that his ministry was merely adopting worldwide standards in cricket.
The smoldering differences have divided the cricket community ahead of the team’s tour of the West Indies later this month. Bowling coach Heath Streak and his batting counterpart Grant Flower together with fitness trainer Lorraine Chivandire have been dropped from the touring party to the Caribbean because their services are no longer wanted there.
Zimbabwe Cricket says they dropped the specialist coaches after recommendations from the cricket committee which had detected discord within the technical department after an investigation following the team’s poor show in Sri Lanka during the T20 World Cup last year.
Captain Brendan Taylor was livid that Chivandire, Streak and Flower were snubbed and took to the social media via Facebook, tearing into the decision arguing that the coaches were essential during tours, contrary to what the cricket committee had recommended.
This is a sad development in a sport that was beginning to pick up pieces after almost a decade of turmoil and points to yet another gloomy future.
What is particularly hurting in this matrix is that it is the game that suffers and the future of thousands of aspiring cricketers. While the boardroom wars take centre stage, those steering the cricket ship and indeed the authorities above them must spare a thought for the game and cricketers.
The real custodians of that sport are the cricketers because it is a source of their livelihood, entertainment, hope, future, and indeed pride. Administrators and ministers come and go, but the game will be there to stay for future generations. It is petty for authorities to allow their personal egos to harm the same game they purport to represent.
Cricket is not about Flower, Streak, Makoni or Coltart, but it represents the aspirations of a nation. That is why it is vital for all these stakeholders who claim to want the game to develop to come together for the good of the game.
This bickering will only take us into an abyss. It is not about who scores what points, but putting Zimbabwe on the cricket World map. The sport must not benefit individuals.
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