BBC BLOGS - Mihir Bose
« Previous | Main | Next »

Zimbabwe future on ICC agenda

Mihir Bose | 12:38 UK time, Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Ray Mali, president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has told me what is happening in Zimbabwe is "no longer cricket", indicating his unhappiness with the effect the situation is having on the game.

He also revealed that South Africa, which has broken cricket relations with Zimbabwe, consulted him before doing so. "I endorsed their decision," Mali told me.

Speaking before he left London at the launch of the Twenty20 World Cup for the ICC's annual meeting in Dubai, Mali said: "I have written to Zimbabwe saying their future in international cricket will be put on the agenda and this issue will be discussed at our meeting next week."

Mali refused to be drawn on what the decision might be, but the tenor of our conversation suggested Zimbabwe may well be excluded from the ICC.

Such a decision would mean Zimbabwe will not be invited to take part in the Twenty20 World Cup in England next year, or be invited to tour the country before the tournament.

This would then resolve an issue that has been concerning the British government, which has said a Zimbabwe cricket visit for Twenty20 matches and any warm-ups would be "undesireable".

As long as Zimbabwe is a member of the ICC, it cannot be stopped from competing, under the terms agreed by cricket's world governing body and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The ICC has previously made it clear it would take the tournament away from England if it prevented Zimbabwe from touring.

Indeed, the British government's decision not to grant Peter Chingoka, president of Zimbabwe Cricket, a visa saw the ICC move its annual conference, normally held in London at Lord's, to its headquarters in Dubai.

This is the first time in the near 100-year history of the ICC that the conference is not being held in England.

However, if Zimbabwe is suspended from the ICC, there would be no question of the country taking part in the Twenty20 World Cup.

Mali's endorsement of South Africa's decision to break relations with Zimbabwe marks a major new development in the international body's relations with the troubled country.

Ever since the Zimbabwe cricket crisis emerged four years ago, there has been a division in international cricket broadly along the lines of the old white countries of the Commonwealth keener to break ties than the Asian block, led by the Indians.

Zimbabwe has retained its international status because of the support of South Africa and India.

Now South Africa, prompted by Mali, the former head of Cricket South Africa, seems to have come up with an African answer for Zimbabwe.

What remains to be seen is what India will do.

India is the economic powerhouse of cricket. It produces 80% of world cricket's income and its voice is very important in the ICC.

If India follows South Africa's lead, then Zimabwe's future in international cricket seems doomed.

A decision to ban Zimbabwe would come as a great relief to the ECB, which finds itself in a difficult position.

The British government is not keen for Zimbabwe's cricketers to visit Britain but preventing them doing so could see the ECB lose the Twent20 World Cup.

Given the revenue and interest the short form of the game generates, they will not want to risk this happening.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 1:35pm on 24 Jun 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mihir:

    I hope that the International sports parties will find an approriate and corrective punishment on the sporting programme of Zimbabwe...

    I know it will hurt the athletes (playing cricket and other sports).

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 2:39pm on 24 Jun 2008, AlexCricket wrote:

    I think this situation should resolve itself now. It is quite clear that Eng and Aus have wanted Zim out for a while. One of the major reasons why Zim have n't been booted out sooner is SA support and it is for that reason that CSA's announcement is highly significant.

    For any who feel that the sport should be non-political I would normally agree BUT Mugabee has long tried to involve himself in the running of Zim cricket and therefore the two cannot be viewed as mutually exclusive

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 2:45pm on 24 Jun 2008, AndyPlowright wrote:


    We've finally found out what it takes for the ICC to be stung into seriously discussing Zimbabwe. It takes a failed election, sustained brutality from the losing government, all manner of human rights atrocities and the winning opposition party quitting a bogus runoff due to the levels of violence on behalf of their opponent.

    There's no guarantee the ICC will do anything but I feel the current Zimbabwean situation could have been lessened had people acted sooner, both in political and sporting circles. There has been a disgusting level of cowardice from the ICC and various governments around the world with regard to Zimbabwe. If India choose to maintain cricketing links with Zimbabwe then I call for the ECB to call for a vote of no confidence in the ICC and demand it to be disbanded and a new cricketing structure drawn up. I don't care if the entire structure of international cricket is fragmented. There are bigger issues at stake here. Any backing for Zimbabwe to remain a world cricketing nation is backing Mugabe in the face of all his crimes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 2:46pm on 24 Jun 2008, 1nterested wrote:

    It's shocking that a decision has not already been made regarding Zimbabwe's participation in any and all International Sports. I should be made clear to all Zimbabwean Sports Bodies that they will be unable to attend any International Sports Event until their one-sided version of democracy is ended. I'm unsure if they are attending the Olympics, but they should not be allowed too.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 3:40pm on 24 Jun 2008, Paddy Briggs wrote:

    I wonder what Ted Dexter would say? Something like this perhaps:

    "Something must be done to dissociate politics from sport...sport has a special part to play. I think that it can work for human relations..."

    That, anyway, was what he said back in 1970 about sporting contacts with South Africa. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight he now regrets these words. And perhaps even he would see that the idea that we should play sport with Zimbabwe at present is an affront. I wonder...

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 4:26pm on 24 Jun 2008, sandcastlejim wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 7. At 5:12pm on 24 Jun 2008, OliverChettle wrote:

    sandcastlejim Mihir Bose used to work for the Telegraph. I'm surprised the BBC appointed him, as he is not a left-winger.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 5:39pm on 24 Jun 2008, jackworm wrote:

    "I find it appalling there are not free and fair elections in the country."

    If this is the basis for banning Zimbabwe, then throw Pakistan in the mix while you are at it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 01:26am on 25 Jun 2008, levdavidovich wrote:

    Let's consider another popular sport in this counrty: Football. Last year the England football team played an international game in Tel Aviv against Israel. Curiously, all those people who claim a moral stance on Zimbabwe had nothing to say about this game. That seems odd to me; the Zimbabawean governments behaviour is totally reprehensible and unaccpetable, but even they haven't been firing rockets into people's homes which is what the Israeli military have been doing to the Palestinians.

    Let's have some consistency. If Zimbabwe are banned then Israel should have been banned forty years ago, and banned since then.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 03:11am on 25 Jun 2008, shorehamview wrote:

    Although it's time that action was taken against Mugabwe I don't really think he'll be too worried about some cricket matches being cancelled. The man has let his country descend into anarchy, so I can't see that he's going to be unduly upset by this.
    He'll only blame the UK for everything as usual.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 08:52am on 25 Jun 2008, Stargazer wrote:

    Surely this is simply being consistent with the slogan "no normal sport in an abnormal society". The same people who wanted Rhodesia and Soutn Africa isolated should be championing the cause of isolating Zimbabwe.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 09:08am on 25 Jun 2008, sbennett wrote:

    I bet this news will come as a great relief to those in Zimbabwe who are in fear of their lives and have been tortured.
    Yep, that's right, doing this IS TOTALLY missing the point. We're pulling childish nur-nur-nur-nur-nur faces at Mugabe, because he deserves it. Er, so this is about one man - Mugabe? not about the people of Zimbabwe? Oh, silly me!

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 09:38am on 25 Jun 2008, dav_lufc wrote:

    You could argue that elections aren't exactly "free and fair" in Pakistan , Russia or even the United States yet various English teams have played these nations recently. I'm not for one minute saying you can compare these nations to Zimbabwe, but is it fair to ban sportsmen from their competition and livelihoods becuase of the actions of their government?

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 09:43am on 25 Jun 2008, Stargazer wrote:

    Listentocommonesense: so, in summary, we should do nothing? If not, what should be done? We you in favour of continuing sporting contacts with Rhodesia and apartheidt South Africa on the grounds that such sanctions would not benefit the suffering people one jot?

    Levdavidovich: a large number of countries already have no sporting links with Israel. Isn't that why they are in UEFA rather than the African or Asian football union?

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 10:08am on 25 Jun 2008, RevisedVersion wrote:

    If we are to take a stand against Zimbabwe on moral issues then we will have to throw out;

    Pakistan, which has a military dictator who refuses to step down despite losing an election – which I have to say, sounds vaguely familiar. It is also a terrorist safe haven and has one of the most feared, notorious and violent security services in the world

    India - where according to Unicef some 200,000 girls under the age of 13 are married off to older men every year and parents break their children’s legs to extort money out of tourists.

    Sri Lanka (one of the brutal militaries in the world) and then finally ourselves for launching an illegal war that has killed hundreds of thousands and having a security service that wouldn’t have looked out of place in East Germany.

    Heck … lets go further, let’s boycott the Olympic Games – everyone knows about china’s appalling human rights record, lets throw Russia out of the European Cup for numerous war crimes in Chechnya.

    In between all this rambling I soughta hope my point is getting across, lets drop the blatant hypocrisy around Zimbabwe, sure it might make us feel better ... but please, the ICC and the Government is fooling no one.

    If we apply to same standards to virtually every ICC country then we wouldn’t have much a game would we … come to think of it there wouldn’t be any sport – period.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 10:37am on 25 Jun 2008, cricketholic wrote:

    While it is inevitable that the future of Zimbabweans are at stake here not just the cricketers!

    We should foresee the living conditions which they are in and just can't assume a ban on Zimbabwe's cricket would resolve everything, which it definitely wont!

    The matter is far complicated as we all know it. ECB, NZCB, ACB and others against Mugabe's tyranny won't do much unless India, a frontrunner in the game of cricket expresses its views soon.

    Above all, Zimbabwean cricketers and many victims of Mugabe's reign aren't probably earning much because of the widespread corruption he has led, so we shouldn't indice them to join unethical routes for earning cash but survival of Zimbabwe's civilians is key here....

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 00:40am on 26 Jun 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    What is the punishment for Zimbabwe....

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 3:40pm on 26 Jun 2008, AbdusSalaamJ wrote:

    RevisedVersion there is a huge differance between Zimbabwe and the others.
    No country is perfect but none are as extremely bad as that country.
    The countries you mention have cricket boards that are populated by those that represent the sport not cronies of their leaders, that is surely the main point and you can not compare the situation in Zimbabwe with the others by any stretch of the imagination.
    I have lived in Pakistan and India and nearly went to Sri Lanka at the begining of the year.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 06:11am on 29 Jun 2008, bonjurehello wrote:

    What has Zimbabwe cricket association done??
    If England government is so worried about letting zimbambwe cricket team let into UK then why not do something to remove robert mugabe and make the country livable for its people.

    I would say why not the British again occupy zimbabwe like it did in the 19th century and rule it some time,get rid of all rogue elements in the country and set up a pro-secular and pro-western government.

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.