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ICC Have Run Out of Patience With Zimbabwe Cricket: Grant Flower

Cricketnext Staff |July 21, 2019, 9:55 AM IST
ICC Have Run Out of Patience With Zimbabwe Cricket: Grant Flower

Former Zimbabwe batsman Grant Flower believes the ICC was swayed by some extent by Zimbabwe Cricket's chequered past when they decided to suspend them, a first for a Full Member.

The decision resulted in freezing of all payments to Zimbabwe Cricket and barred the nation from participating in ICC events, something that took took many by surprise.

"I can understand the player's frustrations, but unfortunately with Zimbabwe cricket, it sounds like the ICC have just had enough," Flower told ESPNcricinfo. "Regarding money owed and money lent, and money the ICC gave Zimbabwe that they're probably never going to see again, it sounds like maybe they've run out of patience.

"I think over time, the ICC have just been worn down by all the corruption, the fraud, and the problems with Zimbabwe cricket not being able to get its house in order. Maybe they thought a jolt to their system would make some people realise what was expected of them.

"They would have reasoned Zimbabwe needed to understand that at some stage, you've got to put your house in order, and we can't keep propping you up like we have been doing over the years.

"We can go back so many years to when things were very badly run. It's pretty obvious what was happening at the time and the people responsible who were involved. And I think the current crop of players and the interim board, who are really good people, are being punished because the ICC felt they needed to take a stand."

The suspension comes less than a year after former Olympic swimmer and Zimbabwe's most famous sportsperson Kirsty Coventry was appointed minister of the Sports and Recreation Committee (SRC).

The country was believed to have turned a corner after that and the Zimbabwe Cricket could have potentially benefitted from the increased accountability the revamped SRC was expected to deliver.

The former right hand bat said the timing and the consistency of the decision did not quite add up for him.

"My understanding is the SRC is a public body and not exactly government. I think there's quite a big difference there and I'm surprised the media hasn't picked up on that. The SRC now is slightly more transparent.

"I don't know all the members, but I do know Kirsty Coventry and she's a good lady, a good person. And a few other people that are involved in it you could say the same of.

"So if you got someone at the top like Kirsty there, her hands might be tied in a lot of places, but there should be more good things happening than bad.

"Regarding government intervention, it's curious how the ICC have decided to interpret that. There are other countries where it's publicly stated that some of the times that certain things will be discussed and decided at government level. So I think there's quite a big contradiction there from the ICC."

Incidentally, Flower and 14 other cricketers were part of one of the darkest days in Zimbabwe cricket in 2004 as he and other white cricketers walked out after captain Heath Streak was dismissed following a disagreement over the squad's re-selection based on what Streak interpreted as unofficial racial quotas.

That led to the 21-year old Tatenda Taibu becoming captain, and an inexperienced side suffer a drastic downturn in results, causing them to withdraw from Test cricket. Flower believes what Zimbabwe cricket is going through right now is worse as it prevents them from playing altogether.

"Even when we were leaving, there were a good bunch of youngsters coming through that could get the country's cricket going. But that's not the case anymore, with even the domestic competitions unable to take place.

"For it to be stopped until October at the very least, the guys are probably going to go and play in the leagues, seek a future elsewhere to try and look after their families, So yeah, I certainly think this is far worse."

Flower said it was a harsh lesson Zimbabwe were learning, and hoped there could be a favourable resolution to the dispute in October.

"Unfortunately in Zimbabwe corruption is rife. When you live there, you get used to it. It's quite an unhealthy state of life and affairs which has become the norm. It's quite frightening, but until you live there, you don't quite actually realise that.

"The scapegoats are the players and some of the good administrators. I saw this thing on Twitter about Harare Sports club, it's a beautiful ground and at the moment it's just going to waste because no one is being paid and the staff have left. It's publicly owned by Harare Sports Club and the upkeep is paid for by Zimbabwe Cricket so unfortunately those sorts of things may just go to ruin.

"It is a sad day, and maybe some of the players are going to move on. Most of the players are still quite young, like Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis, who left their county to return to Zimbabwe. They could still ply their trade elsewhere; it'd be a pity it won't be for their country of birth."

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