July 1, 2008

Don't punish cricket for Mugabe's sins

John Traicos
Why banning Zimbabwe from the game for political reasons isn't the way to go
41



'There is nothing Zimbabwe Cricket or its supporters can do to secure a change of political scene © Getty Images

If the principal reason for the moves towards banning Zimbabwe Cricket is the political situation in the country, then I do not believe that a ban is justified. Cricket and politics should be kept separate as far as possible, unless politics interferes to such an extent that the cricketing body is not a good ICC cricket citizen.

There have been several instances in recent years where there has been political involvement in cricket affairs - Pakistan, Sri Lanka - but there has not been a ban by the ICC. The fact that Robert Mugabe is the patron of Zimbabwe Cricket should not in itself be a reason to ban Zimbabwe from international cricket.

There may be other good reasons to consider censuring Zimbabwe, or even applying a temporary ban, such as improper handling of finances, inadequate cricket development policies, or breaches of ICC regulations. If such reasons do exist then appropriate action can be taken to rectify that conduct.

If Zimbabwe is to be censured, or even temporarily banned, there must be a way forward to enable Zimbabwe Cricket to overcome its deficiencies so that it can regain its place as a member of the ICC and participate internationally. If the only solution is the retirement or withdrawal of Robert Mugabe or his political party from politics, then the reason for banning Zimbabwe is most likely unjustified because there is not much that Zimbabwe Cricket or its supporters can do to secure a change of political scene.

Overall, the ICC has a duty to promote and develop cricket wherever it is played. Zimbabwe can be no exception just because of unfortunate political circumstances. To banish Zimbabwe from international cricket because it happens to be in political difficulties would be unfair on its cricketers and supporters, who are part and parcel of the greater international brotherhood of cricket.

Even if you adopted a strictly political view and identified Robert Mugabe and his ruling party with Zimbabwe Cricket, it would be difficult to sustain that argument against the strong likelihood that most cricketers and cricket followers would have voted against Robert Mugabe's government in the recent elections, which in fact should have resulted in a defeat for Mugabe had it not been for the recent internal violence. To remove the Zimbabwe government or even change the patron of Zimbabwe Cricket under the current circumstances is clearly a difficult or impossible task for anyone.

 
 
If Zimbabwe is to be censured or banned, a way forward must be found to enable Zimbabwe Cricket to overcome its deficiencies so that it can regain its place as a member of the ICC and participate internationally
 

The political scene in Zimbabwe is causing great concern amongst countries worldwide who are contemplating the application of stricter political sanctions against Zimbabwe and its leaders. If sanctions and other punitive action come into effect, there may well be limits placed on the ability of Zimbabwe cricketers to play internationally and of teams to visit Zimbabwe.

The result will be a sad one for international cricket if a country that has under difficult circumstances developed the game reasonably successfully among its local population since 1992 is unable to participate in the sport internationally. A cricketing nation could be permanently severed from the game.

Unless there are reasons other than political ones to censure Zimbabwe Cricket, I believe that the ICC should be considering how best to help Zimbabwe Cricket to keep the game alive and how to overcome its other difficulties, which may be unacceptable to the international cricket community. Imposing a ban that can only be lifted by future political events will be unrealistic.

John Traicos played four Tests for South Africa in 1969-70 and three more for Zimbabwe in 1992-93. He also played 27 ODIs for Zimbabwe between 1983 and 1992-93.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • long_handle9 on July 3, 2008, 15:54 GMT

    I'm no fan of Robert Mugabe--I think he's done as much to harm a country as almost any other individual in history--but I don't think ZC should be punished for this state of affairs, banning a cricket board will not save the country, nor will it show any kind of intent. I also don't think democracy as a system is anywhere near the answer to solving Zimbabwe's problems--the system brings as many faults as it does advantages, as can be seen in the cases of many democratic but definitely unhappy countries around the world--but freedom of speech should be promoted, as should the rights of white Zimbabweans. I thought skin color didn't make a difference, but Mugabe is fighting olden-day racism with modern-day racism. The guy's a lunatic but don't punish Zimbabwean cricket for it.

  • redneck on July 3, 2008, 6:41 GMT

    Wijerama???? what are you saying that england should pay for things done 200 odd years ago and even further back than that????? the world was once a primitive place!!! no country has been perfect if you look back through 100s and 100s of years of history! the issue now is what ethical stand should the cricket world take on a country that has a despot in power and whom is breaking his own country's law that he is meant to uphold as well as where is the money going that the icc gives Zimbabwe cricket!!! some articles written by Steve price on this site are less than complementary about the wheelings and dealings of zimbabwe cricket! India is only taking the stand it is due to the fact zimbabwe vote blindly in favor of what ever India's agenda is!!! India themselves cancelled their tour to zimbabwe this year!!!!

  • Wijerama on July 2, 2008, 19:02 GMT

    To those who say that the motivation behind trying to ban, expell or suspend Zimbabwe from the ICC is about financial mismanagement of Zim's cricket board and not politics, just read what the worlds holiest Brits are saying about it. It is politics pure and simple.

    I suggest you chaps send your talking points to the British Foreign Office so they can come up with a more nuanced argument for denying the Zimbabwean people the pleasure of cricket. But as of now the reason remains politics.

    And unlike apartheid South Africa that did not allow black South Africans to play, there is no such situation in Zimababwe. The issue is an internal one of those who are for and against Mugabe and his regime.

    The British have yet to suffer sanctions for the tens of thousands they have killed and billions they plundered in their modern history. But I would not want to deny the British public the pleasure of cricket becuase of the crimes of their rulers.

  • JangBang on July 2, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    I am not surprised that BCCI is backing Zimbabwe. After all, they are treating ICL the same way Mugabe is treating his opposition.

  • klempie on July 2, 2008, 15:05 GMT

    Can someone please explain to me how the situation in Zimbabwe is (laughs) better than apartheid South Africa during the 70s and 80s, an era when the greatest left hander ever to grace the game was unable to perform his magic because of South Africa being barred from the international cricket community? Oh that's right...it's because if the spiked boot is black, wear it!

  • jimmymoo on July 2, 2008, 12:33 GMT

    Having lived in China until a month ago, I believe that the scenes we see from Zimbabwe are far worse. China is safe, and is governed according to the laws of the country. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe is breaking the laws of his own country to take power and it is clear the country is unstable. No country is perfect, and sport should not make a judgement over politics unless extreme circumstances prevail (South Africa 1970-1991 anyone?) But, please, let's all grow up and acknowledge that the situation in Zimbabwe is far worse than any political rights or wrongs in other full or associate member countries.

    Personally, I think that Zimbabwe's full status should be removed as they do not warrant the status because of the standard they play, the fact no signs of improvement in that standard are present and that there is little evidence of effective use of ICC funds. Why make this a political argument when a strong enough cricket one?

  • JRR562004 on July 2, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    Countries should not be banned for political reasons, however if a country uses cricket as a political weapon then it should be banned. Zimbabwe cricket has been used as a political pawn of the mugabe regime, chingoka and Bvute are both political apointees. The team has seen mass resignations, those that had cricket at heart in Zimbabwe have been sidelined. The money is gone and the standard of cricket has become third rate. Better to suspend Zimbabwe rather than squander a fortune on mismangement, save the funds for when there can be resposible management in Zimbabwe. India keeping Zimbabwe purely for a swing vote is politics and should be illegal.

  • Keep-It-Cool on July 2, 2008, 5:45 GMT

    Why does England not boycott the Olympics in China if it wants to use sport as a means to protest against politics? Is it because Zimbabwe is an easy target while China is not?

  • redneck on July 2, 2008, 5:32 GMT

    why not just make it a pre requisite to being a full member of the icc that every full member nation has to play 8 test matches or more a year? that will mean if India wants Zimbabwe to stay a full member then India will have to do a full tour there and observe the human rights violations themselves!!! as no other country in particular aus, eng, nz & s africa will go anywhere near the place! also India would need to host them more frequently as the same countries who wont tour there will not issue visas for Zimbabwe's players to enter the country! this would also mean the bcci would have to face a cut to its revenue as no tv station is going to pay top dollar for a India v Zimbabwe series no matter if its tests, ODI or even twenty20!!! and finally if Zimbabwe doesn't play 8 tests the icc would have a legitimate cricket based reason to give them the flick!

  • Sitting-on-a-gate on July 2, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    I hope the ICC decides to act firmly on the cricket boards of Hong Kong (under China - the longest ever dictatorship and suppression of human rights, Tienanmen anyone, and the lack of a free and fair election)and Bangladesh (all politicians in jail and country ruled by ghost rulers)to bring about positive changes in these countries too...Next in line can be the boards of South Africa (Rights violation against immigrants), India (Kashmir) and Sri Lanka (Tamils). While they are at it, they can probably suspend the USA for the unlawful occupation of Iraq, England for having supported the US in that and Netherlands (for the immorality of having prostitution legal there). Soon we will have a world that is free of Dictators, Human rights violations, War and Cricket.

  • long_handle9 on July 3, 2008, 15:54 GMT

    I'm no fan of Robert Mugabe--I think he's done as much to harm a country as almost any other individual in history--but I don't think ZC should be punished for this state of affairs, banning a cricket board will not save the country, nor will it show any kind of intent. I also don't think democracy as a system is anywhere near the answer to solving Zimbabwe's problems--the system brings as many faults as it does advantages, as can be seen in the cases of many democratic but definitely unhappy countries around the world--but freedom of speech should be promoted, as should the rights of white Zimbabweans. I thought skin color didn't make a difference, but Mugabe is fighting olden-day racism with modern-day racism. The guy's a lunatic but don't punish Zimbabwean cricket for it.

  • redneck on July 3, 2008, 6:41 GMT

    Wijerama???? what are you saying that england should pay for things done 200 odd years ago and even further back than that????? the world was once a primitive place!!! no country has been perfect if you look back through 100s and 100s of years of history! the issue now is what ethical stand should the cricket world take on a country that has a despot in power and whom is breaking his own country's law that he is meant to uphold as well as where is the money going that the icc gives Zimbabwe cricket!!! some articles written by Steve price on this site are less than complementary about the wheelings and dealings of zimbabwe cricket! India is only taking the stand it is due to the fact zimbabwe vote blindly in favor of what ever India's agenda is!!! India themselves cancelled their tour to zimbabwe this year!!!!

  • Wijerama on July 2, 2008, 19:02 GMT

    To those who say that the motivation behind trying to ban, expell or suspend Zimbabwe from the ICC is about financial mismanagement of Zim's cricket board and not politics, just read what the worlds holiest Brits are saying about it. It is politics pure and simple.

    I suggest you chaps send your talking points to the British Foreign Office so they can come up with a more nuanced argument for denying the Zimbabwean people the pleasure of cricket. But as of now the reason remains politics.

    And unlike apartheid South Africa that did not allow black South Africans to play, there is no such situation in Zimababwe. The issue is an internal one of those who are for and against Mugabe and his regime.

    The British have yet to suffer sanctions for the tens of thousands they have killed and billions they plundered in their modern history. But I would not want to deny the British public the pleasure of cricket becuase of the crimes of their rulers.

  • JangBang on July 2, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    I am not surprised that BCCI is backing Zimbabwe. After all, they are treating ICL the same way Mugabe is treating his opposition.

  • klempie on July 2, 2008, 15:05 GMT

    Can someone please explain to me how the situation in Zimbabwe is (laughs) better than apartheid South Africa during the 70s and 80s, an era when the greatest left hander ever to grace the game was unable to perform his magic because of South Africa being barred from the international cricket community? Oh that's right...it's because if the spiked boot is black, wear it!

  • jimmymoo on July 2, 2008, 12:33 GMT

    Having lived in China until a month ago, I believe that the scenes we see from Zimbabwe are far worse. China is safe, and is governed according to the laws of the country. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe is breaking the laws of his own country to take power and it is clear the country is unstable. No country is perfect, and sport should not make a judgement over politics unless extreme circumstances prevail (South Africa 1970-1991 anyone?) But, please, let's all grow up and acknowledge that the situation in Zimbabwe is far worse than any political rights or wrongs in other full or associate member countries.

    Personally, I think that Zimbabwe's full status should be removed as they do not warrant the status because of the standard they play, the fact no signs of improvement in that standard are present and that there is little evidence of effective use of ICC funds. Why make this a political argument when a strong enough cricket one?

  • JRR562004 on July 2, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    Countries should not be banned for political reasons, however if a country uses cricket as a political weapon then it should be banned. Zimbabwe cricket has been used as a political pawn of the mugabe regime, chingoka and Bvute are both political apointees. The team has seen mass resignations, those that had cricket at heart in Zimbabwe have been sidelined. The money is gone and the standard of cricket has become third rate. Better to suspend Zimbabwe rather than squander a fortune on mismangement, save the funds for when there can be resposible management in Zimbabwe. India keeping Zimbabwe purely for a swing vote is politics and should be illegal.

  • Keep-It-Cool on July 2, 2008, 5:45 GMT

    Why does England not boycott the Olympics in China if it wants to use sport as a means to protest against politics? Is it because Zimbabwe is an easy target while China is not?

  • redneck on July 2, 2008, 5:32 GMT

    why not just make it a pre requisite to being a full member of the icc that every full member nation has to play 8 test matches or more a year? that will mean if India wants Zimbabwe to stay a full member then India will have to do a full tour there and observe the human rights violations themselves!!! as no other country in particular aus, eng, nz & s africa will go anywhere near the place! also India would need to host them more frequently as the same countries who wont tour there will not issue visas for Zimbabwe's players to enter the country! this would also mean the bcci would have to face a cut to its revenue as no tv station is going to pay top dollar for a India v Zimbabwe series no matter if its tests, ODI or even twenty20!!! and finally if Zimbabwe doesn't play 8 tests the icc would have a legitimate cricket based reason to give them the flick!

  • Sitting-on-a-gate on July 2, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    I hope the ICC decides to act firmly on the cricket boards of Hong Kong (under China - the longest ever dictatorship and suppression of human rights, Tienanmen anyone, and the lack of a free and fair election)and Bangladesh (all politicians in jail and country ruled by ghost rulers)to bring about positive changes in these countries too...Next in line can be the boards of South Africa (Rights violation against immigrants), India (Kashmir) and Sri Lanka (Tamils). While they are at it, they can probably suspend the USA for the unlawful occupation of Iraq, England for having supported the US in that and Netherlands (for the immorality of having prostitution legal there). Soon we will have a world that is free of Dictators, Human rights violations, War and Cricket.

  • Icono on July 2, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    India supports Zimbabwe to maintain a power bloc at the ICC. It is cynical power politics that willfully ignores any matter of human rights, social justice or financial propriety within Zimbabwe and ZC. The knee-jerk reaction against the stance England and others as "colonialist" or racist is an absurd camouflage, insulting more to those who use it than those against whom it is directed. BTW, the BCCI has to answer to interests that require the delivery of important series and the best players - the subcontinental bloc (esp. India) need England, NZ, SA and Australia. Or perhaps the BCCI would prefer more series against Zimbabwe to satisfy their commercial and media obligations?

  • zingzangspillip on July 2, 2008, 0:52 GMT

    The problem with cricket in Zimbabwe is the conduct of the board, not the political situation. Earlier this year, the ICC conducted an audit of ZC's funds, and it seems from what I've read on this site that the results of the audit bear some questioning. However, it has taken action from the British government for the ICC to look at this situation as it is. Peter Chingoka is the problem. If some way is found to replace him and the rest of the board with people who are willing to repair the damage, there is a very small chance that cricket in Zimbabwe could return to what it once was. Then, of course, there is the political situation. The ICC can do nothing about this. If the African Union does nothing, even though they know the election was undemocratic, what hope does a measly sporting body have?

  • NeilCameron on July 1, 2008, 21:45 GMT

    There are all sorts of reasons why one particular nation might end up being ostracised by the rest of the sporting community. Traicos himself knows that his own career might have been more substantial had South Africa not been banned from world sport for so long. One obvious question is whether the Mugabe regime is "just as bad" as Apartheid South Africa. This question is moot, however, when it is taken in context with the Zimbabwe player revolt of recent years. Traicos may have been robbed of a potential Test career , but this is nothing in comparison to the Zimbabwean men who stood on principle and gave up their Test careers - players like Heath Streak, Sean Ervine and (in an earlier case) Murray Goodwin. Without these players Zimbabwean cricket was weakened to the point where the national team became a Test and One-day joke. Corruption and government interference, along with massive national economic problems, has destroyed Zimbabwe's ability to create a competitive team.

  • Jegan1971 on July 1, 2008, 21:32 GMT

    If Zimbabwe need to be banned due to political reasons, why no one is talking about banning Srilanka for the same reason. The genocide and ethnic cleansing carried out by the government of Srilanka against innocent Tamil Civilians,Human Right violation by the armed forces of Srilanka, Murders and disappearance of Journalists carried out by the Srilankan President Rajapakshe and his brothers' thugs, Aerial bombings on civilian targets are all ignored by the international community. Mahintha Rarapakshe is 100 times more evil than Robert Mugabe. Ban Srilanka from international cricket.

  • Wijerama on July 1, 2008, 18:17 GMT

    The author is 100% correct.

    The Holy Cows who want to ban and punish Zimbabwe cricket are doing nothing but punishing the Zimbabwean people for whom cricket would remain one of the few pleasures amidst all the chaos.

    Sanctions of all kinds always as a rule hurt the innocents. Rulers and regimes always have the means to survive from sanctions.

    What sanctions attempt to do is to punish the people so that they may rise up against the regime.

    In the case of Zimbabwe the people are already in revolt.

    Let them sort it out by themselves without the very holy and righteous British government who has never done anything wrong to anyone getting involved.

  • John-Price on July 1, 2008, 17:53 GMT

    Traicos say: "There may be other good reasons to consider censuring Zimbabwe, or even applying a temporary ban, such as improper handling of finances, inadequate cricket development policies, or breaches of ICC regulations" That should do for a start - and they all apply. Every report that has come out of Zimbabwe for years tells the same story - persual of self interest by the Zimbabwe Cricket officials combined with utter neglect of the game at large. The result - a team unfit to compete at international level and no spectator interest whatsoever. It is a disgrace that ICC (and India in particular) should treat this turn a blind idea to this situation. ZC is not not fit for purpose and should be suspended.

  • mhla200 on July 1, 2008, 17:40 GMT

    Why is the British government not pressing on the IOC to ban Zimbabwe from participating in the Olympics. Surely thats the best forum to highlight the issue in front of the world next month. Why are they not putting any pressure on FIFA ( surely soccer is the only truly global game ) to ban Zimbabwe. It appears strange to me why the British government is going the cricket route ? Can someone explain ?

    england are not hosting the olympics,or hosting the football world cup, but they are hosting the 20/20 2009. they have just banned ZIM from coming to play before the 20/20 world cup so thats why they want to ban them again. they dont want to face the embarrasment of allowing them to play 20/20 world cup when they banned them for 50 overs one day. so if they ban them to come in 2009 20/20 that means it will be taken away from them and given to canada, and they dont want that to happen because of financial reasons. THATS WHY.

  • PariXI on July 1, 2008, 16:50 GMT

    Well I am not against anything thats being discussed. Neither am I on any side. I think I have the least knowledge about the cricket and politics mix in the republic of zimbabwe. Just a question to all the people who question banning South Africa. Isnt it that the then South African Govt denied Visa to a english player of colour?? Wasnt it the reason that cricket was banned? Isnt it also true that it was done -If I am not wrong - after SA Sports was banned by almost all sports bodies?. Do we see anything like that happening in Zimbabwe Cricket?? Is the Govt, stopping any white cricket player from entering the country? Do we really know what we are talking about? Isnt it true that John Traicos is a cricketer too who has played for both SA and Zim and he knows better than most what harm a ban will do to cricketers in the country? Whats the Logic?? Just because English and Aussies want it?? Human rights Yes. Cricketing reasons uh oh I dont see any.

  • Irishfan on July 1, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    Vswami--I think I know why. In cricket, only ten countries decide international cricket policy. So, in theory, Zimbabwe holds 1/10 of power in world cricket. In IOC and FIFA...Zimbabwe have acheived nearly nothing in either, and besides, both make policy on the choices of over 150 countries. The Brits and South Africans simply want to push the Zimbabweans out of the sporting organisation in which they hold the most power.

  • Oneworld on July 1, 2008, 16:11 GMT

    The bottom line is actions should have an end objective. If banning Zimbabwe cricket would get rid of Mugabe, then it would be a great idea. If banning sportspeople of a country could help create peace and justice in that country, then it would be a great idea. And if this was the case, then let the governments of Britain and allies who are anti-Zimbabwe Cricket expand the ban to ALL sports including the Olympics. And if the IOC doesn't agree to ban Zimbabwe from the Olympics in China, then the British should similarly encourage their own Olympic team NOT to go to China.

    On the other hand, if we want to keep cricket alive in a country ravaged by an evil dictator, (and cricket hardly has the luxury to lose a country from its test fold given there are so few to start with), lets encourage the British Govt. to use political and diplomatic pressure on Mugabe and do what they are paid to do in the first place instead of messing around with making populist empty noise around cricket.

  • RoyalSKW on July 1, 2008, 15:33 GMT

    The situation is not just about the politics in Zimbabwe....It's also about the state of cricket there, they are now even worse than Bangladesh, which can be a fair reason to exclude them from the ELITE....Moreover, the ICC is not considering BANISHING Zim from cricket...It is just considering removing ZC from the elite full member test teams and move it to Associate status.

  • BigGayAl on July 1, 2008, 15:28 GMT

    "Why is the British government not pressing on the IOC to ban Zimbabwe from participating in the Olympics."

    The Olympics is being held in China, the next World Cup in S Africa.

    However the T20 WC is being held in England, and also Zim are due to tour there in early 2009 anyway as part of the ICC Future Tours Programme.

    That is what makes it a decision for the British government and why they are not getting involved re the other two events.

  • vswami on July 1, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    Why is the British government not pressing on the IOC to ban Zimbabwe from participating in the Olympics. Surely thats the best forum to highlight the issue in front of the world next month. Why are they not putting any pressure on FIFA ( surely soccer is the only truly global game ) to ban Zimbabwe. It appears strange to me why the British government is going the cricket route ? Can someone explain ?

  • Nampally on July 1, 2008, 13:19 GMT

    While I emphathize with your view of helping cricketers to remain above politics, it is rather naive to say that politics and Cricket do not mix. Cricketers are goodwill ambassodors for their countries. It is a false pretence to say that the "Game will go on" while a brutal dictator is destroying the very fabric of the society in that country. Murders and killings of any opposition to Mugabe has become the order of the day. Is this Cricket?. Why is ICC pouring 11 million funding annually into this regime to swell the pockets of Mugabe? Every country is imposing sanctions on this government to put a bit of humanity into the daily life of ordinary citizens. Does "Cricket" supercede democratic freedom or is a part of it? Our life is just like a game of Cricket, to be played fairly. When the lives of people are terrorized to the level of inuhumanity "this is not Cricket". Let us wake up and back ICC strongly in banning Zimbabwe from Cricket "until the true Spirit of Cricket is returns".

  • Chrissington on July 1, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    It's very easy for the Zimbabweans to say that sport and politics shouldn't mix.

    Why was it, then, that South Africa were excluded from international cricket for so many years? Was it poor organisation amongst the cricketing authorities? Of course not.

    This is incredible hypocrisy. Zimbabwe's cricketing authority is clearly run by political appointees, and thus, sport and politics have already mixed.

    I would also echo the comments about the diversion of funds. If the ICC allows this situation to continue, they are using the revenues generated from cricket fans to fund a dictator and have blood on their hands.

  • Clickinfo on July 1, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    Suggesting that sport and politics don't mix is simplistic tosh. It is common knowledge the board are deeply politicised, so hiding behind that excuse is clutching at straws.

    If sport and politics don't mix then why does traicos live in australia after escaping from zimbabwe hidden in the boot of a car because the authorities were after him?

  • Lateralis on July 1, 2008, 10:39 GMT

    John, I hate to say this, but open your eyes, please.

    "If the principal reason for the moves towards banning Zimbabwe Cricket is the political situation in the country, then I do not believe that a ban is justified. Cricket and politics should be kept separate as far as possible, unless politics interferes to such an extent that the cricketing body is not a good ICC cricket citizen."

    - There *does* exist a moral obligation to do something with Zimbabwe on political grounds, but...

    - ... there are countless *cricketing* reasons to remove Zimbabwe from international cricket. They've not been competitive for years and given the current state of ZC, they won't be competitive for years to come.

    - Moreover, ZC squanders millions of ICC dollars each year. Some of it is simply siphoned off for the political regime. Contrast that to Ireland's spirited performance in last years World Cup - and they get less than a million per annum! Why not give the money to Ireland instead?

  • yescharny on July 1, 2008, 10:36 GMT

    John, it saddens me to say, but whilst "cricket and politics should be kept separate", it is not this simple. What about when politics interferes with cricket, such as Mugabe controlling the game in Zimbabwe? The world must not give an inch to a dictator of such evil proportions, and devastatingly there will be casualties such as cricketers and supporters. It is up to world leaders to step in and knock over this cruel and inhumane regime.

  • slogger_rob on July 1, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    John... so they should have let SA play during the apartheid years?

    Zim cricket is so rotten with political figures that it can NOT be separated from politics.

    Dump Zim from everything. Until the political situation changes there the rest of the world should have nothing to do with them! Simple.

  • Subra on July 1, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    Traicos has hit the name on the head. Is the ICC trying to punish Mugabe, if so it has chosen the wrong approach. The proposed action by the ICC will only harm the cricketers and the development of the game.

    Mugabe has not prevented any team visiting because they included players of a certain colour - as was done by the South African regime in the famous D'Oliveira affair - which rightly led to SA cricket being ostracised.

    Anyone can go to Zimbabwe and play.

    Punish Mugabe but not the cricketers.

    Subra from Singapore

  • Clean_hitter on July 1, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    As a full member, Zimbabwe gets $11 million per year from the ICC. Now it's no secret that very little of this money actually goes towards the game, most of it is siphoned off along the way by various hangers-on who have NO interest in the game itself.

    THE ONLY WAY TO REMOVE THEM IS TO CUT OFF THE CASH FLOW.

    Most of them are Zanu-PF appointees, so there's no real chance of them being removed internally. As long as they remain, cricket and cricketers in Zimbabwe will be punished, and so banning may actually turn out to be a "tough love" act by the ICC.

  • Cellinis on July 1, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    Politics has always been, and will always remain, closely associated with sports. For a extremely good reason too - both involve people! In Zimbabwe's case, however, sports is being used to feed foreign exchange into a country that easily rivals Somalia and (Nazi Occupation-Cold War)Poland in human tragedy. A majority of comments talk about killing cricket through the ban... but of what cricket do we talk? Zimbabwe has, for quite a while now, been uncompetitive on global stage. Its best cricketers play their trade elsewhere. Those who remain are neither paid nor fed; the conditions of pitches and grounds has been well documented. We might as well say that Zimbabwe's political situation is an internal matter. I remember something along those lines in the history books regarding Jews and Germany. Granted that Mugabe still has a bit more work to do for that comparison; the latest trend of 'Sports and Politics don't mix' is merely a collective reticence in making a strong stance.

  • Daniel_Smith on July 1, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    Zimbabwe Cricket gets about eleven million pounds a year from the ICC. It has been proven that this money is not going to just support cricket in the country. Instead the money is being squandered by administrators who don't care about the sport. This money would be better spent supporting the game in Ireland, Holland, Kenya etc: than pouring it into the pockets of dictators.

  • Shumba on July 1, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    As a Zimbabwean who has, in the past, been heavily involved in the domestic cricket scene in Zimbabwe, I can confirm that the state of the game in the country is completely rotten. This is not surprising as it mirrors the general state of the country. Chingoka and his executive run ZC in the same way that Mugabe runs the nation - without regard for individual rights. If John Traicos was still living in Zimbabwe, I'm sure that he would see that it is not possible for cricket, or any other activity, to function normally under these circumstances.

  • Brasileiro on July 1, 2008, 7:21 GMT

    Notwithstanding the political scene in Zimbabwe, surely their performances in test cricket should incur a temporary suspension in at least that form of the game. One may argue that Bangladesh performs no better, but the sad facts are that the latter has enormous potential and are improving, while the former is declining and seems to be further removed from any capability in his arena each passing day.

  • USExile on July 1, 2008, 6:51 GMT

    JaySarkar, I think you have it backwards, South Africa started the ball rolling and England Jumped in. There is a kook on the loose in Zimbabwe, and it is he who is killing off Zim cricket, not England. England desperately needs Zim cricket so there will be a team out there they can beat. I agree about China, as an American ex-patriot, I was appalled when the US opened free trade with China. Stay focused here, this isn't about China, Britain's hypocrisies, overbearing politics, or racial quotas/racism, it is about a man who has lost his sense of reason and is punishing all Zimbabweans, cricketers or otherwise, and cricket funds are helping him accomplish that. Stop trying to assign blame to everyone but Mugabe, the perpetrator.

  • murf on July 1, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    Yes, legally put, the article is correct but time to stop dancing around the point - cricket in Zimbabwe has been on the down turn since Chingoka and his inept and corrupt administration took over. Funds have been misappropriated,administrators have lined their own pockets unjustly and without authorization,the standard of cricket has dropped alarmingly and the whole infrastructure has been terminally damaged - these are unarguable facts.This is not a political issue, it is an issue of cricket governance and fiscal responsibility towards the funds we, as the cricket public, have a right to know are being properly used.They do not deserve to be in the top echelons of cricket and must be demoted immediately.

  • USExile on July 1, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    John, I hate to respond to this article. I have such admiration for you as a great cricketer, that I don't have the heart to disagree. But, as you said, "unless politics interferes to such an extent that the cricketing body is not a good ICC cricket citizen." I believe that is true in this case. I hate to see any harm done to, what was one of my favorite cricket programs, but I don't see anyone named Flower, Strang, or even Traicos, on the roster. Mugabe and company are scraping together any menagerie of cricket want-to-bes imaginable, in an effort to retain misappropriated cricket funds, which have become vital to the continuation of his ruthless despotism. It makes more sense to cut them off now, and put forth a grand effort to rebuild cricket after Mugabe and clones are deposed.

  • JaySarkar on July 1, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Could not agree more with Saibaskar. Unfortunately the history between ECB/UK and Zimbabwe has a long history. Britain is punishing Mugabe but in trying to do so it is killing off the country's cricketers. That is appalling. SA board has jumped in which is odd to say the least for its political leaders will do absolutely nothing to help the situation there. Sports bodies must keep politics out of it despite the increasing politicization of the entire process unless their governments force their hands. But many take on governments through the legal arena - the issue is that Zimbabwe does not bring in the dosh for cricket boards such as the ECB or SA cricket. If Zimbabwe had been India or Australia I bet the response would have been very different. China probably has a far worse human rights record than Zimbabwe - it doesn't allow journalists to wander off unchaperoned such is the paranoia - but the Olympics would be played there and Britain has no qualms in doing business there.

  • nk83 on July 1, 2008, 4:23 GMT

    I agree, but I believe their are cricketing reasons for which Zimbabwe should be suspended upon. They do not meet the requirements of being a full member right now (because of political reasons but if politics didn't effect the cricket that it would be fine).

  • Saibaskar on July 1, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    Exactly what i feel too. Politics cannot be the reason to ban Zimbabwe from cricket. I understand the decision of British and SA governments. It is binding on their cricket boards but i doubt if it is fair to expect what British govt decides to be followed by entire cricket world. During Kargil war a similar situation emerged with India severing its bilateral ties with Pakistan which included cricket. But govt of India did allow Pakistan to participate in ICC sponsored events in India. And finally if Britain feels the need to act against Zimbabwe govt there are better places to do that like UN etc than ICC. Hmm.. If Britain feels justified then it has enough military power to pull down Mugabe in a weeks time by force. Such an effort would be more justified than invading countries in search of imaginary WMD.

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  • Saibaskar on July 1, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    Exactly what i feel too. Politics cannot be the reason to ban Zimbabwe from cricket. I understand the decision of British and SA governments. It is binding on their cricket boards but i doubt if it is fair to expect what British govt decides to be followed by entire cricket world. During Kargil war a similar situation emerged with India severing its bilateral ties with Pakistan which included cricket. But govt of India did allow Pakistan to participate in ICC sponsored events in India. And finally if Britain feels the need to act against Zimbabwe govt there are better places to do that like UN etc than ICC. Hmm.. If Britain feels justified then it has enough military power to pull down Mugabe in a weeks time by force. Such an effort would be more justified than invading countries in search of imaginary WMD.

  • nk83 on July 1, 2008, 4:23 GMT

    I agree, but I believe their are cricketing reasons for which Zimbabwe should be suspended upon. They do not meet the requirements of being a full member right now (because of political reasons but if politics didn't effect the cricket that it would be fine).

  • JaySarkar on July 1, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Could not agree more with Saibaskar. Unfortunately the history between ECB/UK and Zimbabwe has a long history. Britain is punishing Mugabe but in trying to do so it is killing off the country's cricketers. That is appalling. SA board has jumped in which is odd to say the least for its political leaders will do absolutely nothing to help the situation there. Sports bodies must keep politics out of it despite the increasing politicization of the entire process unless their governments force their hands. But many take on governments through the legal arena - the issue is that Zimbabwe does not bring in the dosh for cricket boards such as the ECB or SA cricket. If Zimbabwe had been India or Australia I bet the response would have been very different. China probably has a far worse human rights record than Zimbabwe - it doesn't allow journalists to wander off unchaperoned such is the paranoia - but the Olympics would be played there and Britain has no qualms in doing business there.

  • USExile on July 1, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    John, I hate to respond to this article. I have such admiration for you as a great cricketer, that I don't have the heart to disagree. But, as you said, "unless politics interferes to such an extent that the cricketing body is not a good ICC cricket citizen." I believe that is true in this case. I hate to see any harm done to, what was one of my favorite cricket programs, but I don't see anyone named Flower, Strang, or even Traicos, on the roster. Mugabe and company are scraping together any menagerie of cricket want-to-bes imaginable, in an effort to retain misappropriated cricket funds, which have become vital to the continuation of his ruthless despotism. It makes more sense to cut them off now, and put forth a grand effort to rebuild cricket after Mugabe and clones are deposed.

  • murf on July 1, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    Yes, legally put, the article is correct but time to stop dancing around the point - cricket in Zimbabwe has been on the down turn since Chingoka and his inept and corrupt administration took over. Funds have been misappropriated,administrators have lined their own pockets unjustly and without authorization,the standard of cricket has dropped alarmingly and the whole infrastructure has been terminally damaged - these are unarguable facts.This is not a political issue, it is an issue of cricket governance and fiscal responsibility towards the funds we, as the cricket public, have a right to know are being properly used.They do not deserve to be in the top echelons of cricket and must be demoted immediately.

  • USExile on July 1, 2008, 6:51 GMT

    JaySarkar, I think you have it backwards, South Africa started the ball rolling and England Jumped in. There is a kook on the loose in Zimbabwe, and it is he who is killing off Zim cricket, not England. England desperately needs Zim cricket so there will be a team out there they can beat. I agree about China, as an American ex-patriot, I was appalled when the US opened free trade with China. Stay focused here, this isn't about China, Britain's hypocrisies, overbearing politics, or racial quotas/racism, it is about a man who has lost his sense of reason and is punishing all Zimbabweans, cricketers or otherwise, and cricket funds are helping him accomplish that. Stop trying to assign blame to everyone but Mugabe, the perpetrator.

  • Brasileiro on July 1, 2008, 7:21 GMT

    Notwithstanding the political scene in Zimbabwe, surely their performances in test cricket should incur a temporary suspension in at least that form of the game. One may argue that Bangladesh performs no better, but the sad facts are that the latter has enormous potential and are improving, while the former is declining and seems to be further removed from any capability in his arena each passing day.

  • Shumba on July 1, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    As a Zimbabwean who has, in the past, been heavily involved in the domestic cricket scene in Zimbabwe, I can confirm that the state of the game in the country is completely rotten. This is not surprising as it mirrors the general state of the country. Chingoka and his executive run ZC in the same way that Mugabe runs the nation - without regard for individual rights. If John Traicos was still living in Zimbabwe, I'm sure that he would see that it is not possible for cricket, or any other activity, to function normally under these circumstances.

  • Daniel_Smith on July 1, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    Zimbabwe Cricket gets about eleven million pounds a year from the ICC. It has been proven that this money is not going to just support cricket in the country. Instead the money is being squandered by administrators who don't care about the sport. This money would be better spent supporting the game in Ireland, Holland, Kenya etc: than pouring it into the pockets of dictators.

  • Cellinis on July 1, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    Politics has always been, and will always remain, closely associated with sports. For a extremely good reason too - both involve people! In Zimbabwe's case, however, sports is being used to feed foreign exchange into a country that easily rivals Somalia and (Nazi Occupation-Cold War)Poland in human tragedy. A majority of comments talk about killing cricket through the ban... but of what cricket do we talk? Zimbabwe has, for quite a while now, been uncompetitive on global stage. Its best cricketers play their trade elsewhere. Those who remain are neither paid nor fed; the conditions of pitches and grounds has been well documented. We might as well say that Zimbabwe's political situation is an internal matter. I remember something along those lines in the history books regarding Jews and Germany. Granted that Mugabe still has a bit more work to do for that comparison; the latest trend of 'Sports and Politics don't mix' is merely a collective reticence in making a strong stance.