Blignaut favourite to take over as captain November 30, 2005

Board finally meets as crisis grows

Peter Chingoka: under fire from a number of directions © AFP
The board of Zimbabwe Cricket should finally meet on Saturday in Harare to discuss a number of issues which might culminate in the appointment of a new captain and new selection panel.

The board, headed by beleaguered chairman Peter Chingoka, has not met since September 12 when it briefly convened in Bulawayo following the annual general meeting held earlier in the day. That meeting has since been declared null and void as only seven out of the 12 members attended and therefore did not constitute a quorum in terms of the organisation's constitution.

It is not yet clear whether all the members will turn up this time as a number of them have refused to attend meetings called by Chingoka as part of the ongoing row blighting the game.

A new captain is expected to be announced following the retirement of Tatenda Taibu last week. Allrounder Andy Blignaut, currently playing franchise cricket for Highveld Lions in South Africa, is favourite, although he blotted his copybook somewhat when he joined the strike in 2004, and top-order batsman Hamilton Masakadza is also in the frame.

A fresh selection panel should also be unveiled. A new panel was named at the illegal September 12 meeting, comprising Bruce Makovah (convener), Ethan Dube, Macsood Ebrahim and Robin Brown, but they never assumed their duties and the old panel, led by Ebrahim with Dube and Richard Kaschula, selected the squads for the two Tests against India. As things stand, the selectors won't have too much to do as almost all the country's players have said they will refuse to play while Chingoka remains.

The board is also expected to clarify the status of former national coach Phil Simmons who was sacked in August following Zimbabwe's dismal showing in the two Tests against New Zealand. It subsequently emerged that Simmons's dismissal was probably unconstitutional as it was made by senior board officials rather than the board as a whole. That led to Simmons taking ZC to court for unfair dismissal.

Whatever happens, the meeting will be overshadowed by the escalating crisis engulfing the game, and the ongoing investigations by the Sports and Recreation Commission and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.