April 6, 2011

Zimbabwe

Vermeulen the golfer

Akhila Ranganna

Former Zimbabwe opening batsmen Mark Vermeulen has had enough … of cricket. Vermeulen, 32, who last played for Zimbabwe in 2009, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket and decided to pursue a career in golf. Vermeulen, who played eight Tests and 43 ODIs for Zimbabwe, said he was fed up with the unprofessionalism in the game. “Everyone has been holding me back — the administrators and the umpires — so I have decided I can do something better with my life,” Vermeulen told Zimbabwe Independent. “I dreamt of playing in the national team again and representing the country in the Tests but I am quitting to pursue a career in golf.” Vermeulen will have to gain professional status in the game by winning an amateur tournament, and his first shot is the Zimbabwe Amateur Tournament on April 22.

Vermeulen has had a chequered career as an international cricketer – he was sent home during the second Test of the 2003 tour of England, had earlier refused to stop a ball at Hove because "it was too cold" and also had run-ins with the team manager. In 2008, he was cleared of arson due to mental illness after being on trial for burning down the Zimbabwe Cricket headquarters and academy in Harare in 2006. Vermeulen lost his contract with Zimbabwe domestic franchise Mountaineers in March after another instance of indiscipline. His relationship with the franchise reportedly broke down following a three-match suspension for angrily contesting two decisions in a Logan Cup match against Mashonaland Eagles at Mutare Sports Club last month.

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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