June 8, 2003

Vermeulen sent home from Zimbabwe tour

Wisden CricInfo staff

Zimbabwe's opening batsman, Mark Vermeulen, has been sent home from the tour of England for persistent misconduct. Babu Meman, the team manager, confirmed the decision following a disciplinary hearing at the team hotel in Durham on Sunday morning.

"Mark has been warned about his conduct on a number of separate occasions during the tour but unfortunately has not heeded that advice," said Meman, who added that the final straw had taken place at the end of the second day of the recent Test at Chester-le-Street.

Vermeulen, who had endured a miserable day, becoming only the 13th man in Test history to record a pair on the same day of a match, ignored a management instruction to travel with the rest of the squad on the coach, instead choosing to leave the ground on his own. "It is a practice followed at all games to promote team morale and adhere to the security advice we have been given for the tour," said Meman. "He deliberately ignored a perfectly reasonable request."

The incident is the latest blow for a team who have lost both Tests by an innings and have been dogged by criticism that the squad has been politically vetted by the regime of President Robert Mugabe. It is also another setback for Vermeulen, who suffered a fractured skull at the World Cup in South Africa earlier this year when he was hit during a net session.

Geoff Marsh, Zimbabwe's coach, was disappointed by the behaviour. "Mark is a talented player," said Marsh, "but he has to learn that the team comes before personal considerations. His poor behaviour means that he will now miss the opportunity to continue learning about international cricket. That is very disappointing for him personally, but even more so from the team perspective."

Any further disciplinary action will be considered by the ZCU Board when Vermeulen returns to Zimbabwe later this week.