No Test Cricket For Zimbabwe – ICC

HARARE – The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board has not given Zimbabwe the green light to return to Test cricket amidst reports that twenty-nine players have quit the Zimbabwe cricket team in frustration.

Players, who have quit are Raymond Price, Barney Rogers, Simms, Heath Streak, Mark Vermuelen, Grant Whittal, Craig Wishart, Andy Blignaut, Gary Brent, Stewart Carlisle, Dion Ebrahim, Sean Ervine, Gary ewing, Neil Ferraira, Grant Flower, Andy Flower, Travis Friend, Murray Godwin, Trevor Gripper, Douglas Hondo, Antony Ireland, Neil Johnson, Doug Marrillier,

Mpumelelo Hungwe, Henry Olonga, Andrew Ireland, Neil Johnson, Barney Murphy, and Tinashe Panyangarara.

The report noted that they was a “rather poor existing relationship between the Board and players (past and present) was raised repeatedly”.

The task team reported that there was several high profile disputes between the players and the board in recent years.
“At the time of writing, legal proceedings relating to an assault charge brought by ZC against one it centrally contracted players (Tatenda Taibu) were ongoing”. The report also said a payment dispute between ZC and several players and coach (Phil Simmons) from three years ago remain unresolved.

The report said player renumeration is at the heart of the many of more board/player disputes.
The report recommended that Zimbabwe Cricket establishment need to improve its relationship with current and former players and priotise the resolution of long standing disputes.

Zimbabwe withdrew from Tests in January 2006 because of poor performances. At its July 2008 Board meeting the ICC Executive Board appointed a task team to establish the facts and make formal recommendations to the Board on the strategies to assist Zimbabwe to improve its international cricket performances so as to facilitate the earliest possible return to Test match cricket.

The task team headed headed by Dr Julian Hunte as chairman, Arijuna Ranatunga and Haroon Logat (ICC chief executive) presented its final findings Saturday.

The task team said Zimbabwe was not yet  ready to return to Test cricket. The report presented a series of recommendations on how best to assist Zimbabwe to improve its performances so as to allow its return to the Test arena as soon as appropriate.

The report stated that a sustainable return to that form of the game was possible only if Zimbabwe’s national representative sides have satisfied reasonable performance criteria in first-class and other multi-day matches; various structures and processes have been updated in line with recommendations of the task team; domestic structures have been upgraded and a longer and more competitive first-class league is introduced; and there should be an ongoing partnership between Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and the ICC Member Services department to track the former’s performance against its strategic plan.

Zimbabwe Cricket accepted the report’s recommendations and agreed to work with the ICC to ensure they are enacted.