ICC board meeting July 4, 2008

Teflon kings survive another day

How the ICC has once again compromised over Zimbabwe
44


Teflon Pete: A smiling Chingoka in Dubai © Getty Images
 

Anyone who believes that Zimbabwe Cricket withdrew from the World Twenty20 "in the interest of the game" probably believes in Santa Claus. Backed into a corner that even its protecting angels within the ICC could not get it out of, there was little choice. When Peter Chingoka, the man who has come to personify Zimbabwe Cricket said, "We don't want to gatecrash where we are not welcome," it was hard to keep a straight face.

Many argue the Zimbabwe Cricket board has never acted in the interests of cricket either inside or outside the country. Chingoka's bleating that the ICC could not expel Zimbabwe because it was against its own rules would have drawn more than a few wry smiles back home, coming from a man who utterly shredded his own board's constitution two years ago to ensure his own survival.

And that's what the decision today is all about - survival. The end result is a compromise that does little to help cricket inside Zimbabwe, and further tarnishes the already battered image of the ICC.

There remain deep divisions within the ICC over Zimbabwe cricket. Some maintain that the politics of the country should have no bearing on the game; others argue that the two are so inexorably intertwined that it is simply not possible to maintain anything like normal relations on a sporting level.

Chingoka epitomises the quandary. In England, especially, he is seen as a Robert Mugabe stooge. British government sources both inside Zimbabwe and in London maintain they have overwhelming evidence of his political links. That is why he has been refused a visa to enter the UK, even though ICC president David Morgan admitted in April nobody within the ICC had thought it necessary to ask him why the application had been turned down. That seems to sum up the ICC stance: See no evil, hear no evil. Elsewhere, Chingoka is seen as an administrator and a decent man doing his best to survive in a wretched political set-up.

Casting Zimbabwe into the wilderness was not really what anyone wanted. The solution would have been a suspension from cricket, and reduced and supervised funding. Remove the embarrassment of their lamentable cricket performances and put their dubious finances out in the open. As one ICC official said, it would have been putting Zimbabwe cricket into an oxygen tent until things in the country were more conducive to rebuilding the game.

Sadly, pragmatism is not something the ICC is famous for and the real shame of this so-called solution is that it has done nothing for the remnants of grass-roots cricket in the country. A three-man panel has been set up to look into things. Previous ICC fact-finding missions have reported back in glowing terms about the state of the game in Zimbabwe despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The only glimmer of hope is that the latest panel is headed by Julian Hunte, the West Indies board's president and an experienced and capable career politician.

In the UK there will be widespread anger at the fudged outcome in Dubai but absolutely no surprise. It is some time since the ICC has been seen as a body that acts for the right reasons rather than a closed group that represents the self-interest of its board members.

Even the fact that the World Twenty20 remains in England is political. It's certainly nothing to do with Zimbabwe Cricket's largesse. The reality is that the event stands to make too much money for the ICC, and so the various boards. Chingoka was forced to back down, with the trade-off being that Zimbabwe Cricket continues to retain its utterly undeserved place at the game's top table.

 
 
It is unlikely that the telephones will be buzzing with requests for ZC to accommodate incoming teams. And given that Zimbabwe have all the commercial appeal of malaria, few will want to incur the losses of a home series
 

Look deeper into the outcome and the behind-the-scenes deals almost defy belief. Zimbabwe will retain full funding, despite not playing Tests, or any other meaningful cricket, come to that, and what's more, despite questions over the way that money is spent inside Zimbabwe that won't go away. The salt in the wound is that they will get their fee from the ICC World Twenty20 despite not having to even lift a bat in anger. It seems the less Zimbabwe actually play, the more cash rolls in.

You have to feel for leading Associates such as Scotland and Ireland. They play more cricket than Zimbabwe, have far superior domestic structures and thoroughly professional and transparent administrative set-ups. And yet they have to sit back and watch every penny as the dollars pour into the void of Zimbabwe cricket's accounts.

There will be a few wry smiles over Chingoka's unashamed toadying to India, who have fought hard to keep Zimbabwe afloat. "We are now looking forward to more tours and international cricket with our Asian friends, especially India," he gushed. While in theory Zimbabwe remain part of the Future Tours Programme, the reality is that only the four Asian countries and West Indies will even consider playing them. Some will point to the actions of the Indian board as being little short of hypocrisy, given they scrapped their own tour of Zimbabwe last month for the flimsiest of reasons.

For now, Zimbabwe slips back under the radar. It remains to be seen how many countries actually back words with deeds and decide that Harare and Bulawayo are the kind of places they want to visit. It is unlikely that the telephones will be buzzing with requests for ZC to accommodate incoming teams. And given that Zimbabwe have all the commercial appeal of malaria, few will want to incur the losses of a home series.

Zimbabwe, the Teflon kings of the ICC, have survived to fight another day. It might well be that they have used up the last of their political favours to escape this mess, but they have bought themselves a little more time.

For all the arguments that sport and politics don't mix, the irony is that the thing that could oust those overseeing cricket in Zimbabwe is a change of regime in the country. If Mugabe does go then those allied to his Zanu-PF regime will perish along with him. Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC has long lists and longer memories. You can bet that if that day arrives, many of those who backed Zimbabwe through thick and thin will be distancing themselves from the current leadership with almost indecent haste.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • redneck on July 9, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    The main problem that alot of you people have is the fact that you keeep getting flogged by the aussies. Keep bragging about your gonna be short lived IPL series. it isn't going to be succesful in many contries outside the sub-continent. there is a place for T20 in cricket but not that over the top ridiculous tournament IPL. By the way in your preciuos tournament who was the player that attracted the highest bid? andrew symonds an aussie. who was the mvp for the tournament? shane watson an aussie. who was the highest run scorer? shaun marsh an aussie. who was the winning captain/coach? shane warne an aussie. we are ranked no 1 in tests and one dayers. we have a population of 20 million to choose from compared to 1 billion, so for us to even have a team is unbeleivable but to beable to hold many records and world cups is an embrassment to indian cricket. only thing you have is your talk on blogs like this where is we leave our action on the field to do the talking!

  • redneck on July 8, 2008, 2:38 GMT

    why is every Asian poster so anti the ecb and cricket Australia what decisions have they made (past or present) that have done any sub continent team harm or given them reason to be so against them? why not put zimbabwe in the intercontinental cup being played amongst top affiliate nations and give who ever wins full membership that way if Zimbabwe's cricket is good enough they will rightfully be a icc full member and when they don't win due to no money being spent on their domestic structure and their player pool being the worst its been since they received full membership due to ZC's corruption then the icc will have 10 full members who deserve to be there! fyi Rohan Ireland is the highest ranked non test playing nation now and ChandraKS what on earth are you on about the north Atlantic treaty organization for? only one nation is a full member of the icc and NATO (england) so as a Aussie myself how or why should the bcci "screw the living daylights" out of us???

  • amyhar on July 6, 2008, 10:25 GMT

    England and her friends should be embarrassed that they have managed to squeeze Zimbabwe out of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup. For ages we've been told that Chingoka & company are looting ZC coffers. First Pricewaterhousecoopers did the accounts and they were disputed. Then came another indigenous company and the findings were deemed fraudulent. Then the ICC brought in KPMG (SA) for a forensic audit which again failed to nail Chingoka. As much as I personally dislike the man, it's absolutely unfair to fix him when there is no evidence. That said, Mugabe is evil, yes, but why punish cricket? Mugabe's stealing of elections thru violence was just a godsend of pple who have for long wanted Zim chucked out of international cricket. It's a shame. It's not necessarily true that all the players who have left -- white & black -- it's becoz of Chingoka. I hope Britain and all other hypocrites look at their own political records, look at Pakistan, Bangladesh, SA (xenophobia) and kick em out of ICC.

  • Clickinfo on July 6, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    I assume Jeff was trying to be ironic when he said that democracy was the most important thing. Is that democracy Mugabe-style, when you wipe out the opposition ahead of the election, or ZCU-style, when you remove all opponents before having an election. The board has killed cricket and made themselves rich. What, dear Jeff, is remotely democratic about that?

  • Gilbert123456789 on July 6, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    I think Mr Williamson has forgotten the single most important concept of modern day world.

    "DEMOCRACY"

    This has nothing to do with what one Bloc thinks. He is a supreme master of spin - I believe this is an article on Cricketing issues. But reading this makes me think it is an anti Mugabe article with loads of conspiracy theory and very little evidence.

    I may not know much about Zimbabwe politics, but I am sane enough to remember different people have different opinions. ICC as any other organisation is practising Democracy! Please live with it - You win some, you lose some Mr. Williamson!

    Jeff

  • sitoten on July 6, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    ICC was right. The more dumb decisions they make like this, the quicker they will destry themselves.

  • slugger1969 on July 6, 2008, 3:34 GMT

    This is a complete farce. The ICC are slowly but surely dragging cricket under. Power mad and a rule unto themselves. Talk of Iraq, etc is total rubbish. This situation is chalk and cheese compared to it and if you cannot see that then stop wasting other people's time by writing in on this subject. I used to look forward to cricket games so much. Now there is constant cricket. We are waterlogged with it as the ICC and various controlling bodies try to drag as much money into their coffers as possible. These moronic decisions from the ICC is only a very small step from pressure being put on players to fix results. Pressure from boards or ICC members to determine results so deals can be done in the boardroom. If this situation continues for another few years or so, I see the beginning of the death of International cricket. I think it is that bad.

  • Ozcricketwriter on July 6, 2008, 1:57 GMT

    As far as I am concerned, as soon as Henry Olonga was forced to flee the country, Zimbabwe's position as an international cricketing country should have ended. Such behaviour, which was later followed up by most of their best cricketers (especially including Heath Streak) being targetted was abysmal. The fact that this behaviour mirrors what is going on in the country is why they need to be banned. Sri Lanka had a civil war yet it didn't greatly affect their cricketers - they even had Muttiah Muralitharan enter as a Tamil in spite of the civil war involving them. This situation is the same kind of situation as apartheid South Africa. Had South Africa during apartheid picked black cricketers, or picked cricketers based on talent rather than race, all would be fine. If Zimbabwe was picking based on talent, all would be fine. The problem is that they are not. The problem is that they are mixing politics with cricket. This is why their political situation is relevant.

  • Brendanvio on July 6, 2008, 1:35 GMT

    Sigh......no matter how much we try to divorce politics from the state of the game, someone brings it up again, and then someone automatically declares racial overtones against the 'White' countries.

    The fact still remains that grassroots cricket in Zimbabwe is no exsistant, and that is the problem that needs to be adressed. Why is it a crime to reduce Zimbabwe's status when it is clear that they are no longer a force at international level and will not be as long as there is no money in the game?

    I implore people to think on that basis rather than that of racism or political links.

  • ChinmayD on July 5, 2008, 21:33 GMT

    Agree that Zimbabwe should be stripped off their test status and their place up the ICC high table unless they improve. But, on purely cricketing terms, they should be allowed to play in Qualification matches for T20 WC as an associate country. Would ECB risk that?

  • redneck on July 9, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    The main problem that alot of you people have is the fact that you keeep getting flogged by the aussies. Keep bragging about your gonna be short lived IPL series. it isn't going to be succesful in many contries outside the sub-continent. there is a place for T20 in cricket but not that over the top ridiculous tournament IPL. By the way in your preciuos tournament who was the player that attracted the highest bid? andrew symonds an aussie. who was the mvp for the tournament? shane watson an aussie. who was the highest run scorer? shaun marsh an aussie. who was the winning captain/coach? shane warne an aussie. we are ranked no 1 in tests and one dayers. we have a population of 20 million to choose from compared to 1 billion, so for us to even have a team is unbeleivable but to beable to hold many records and world cups is an embrassment to indian cricket. only thing you have is your talk on blogs like this where is we leave our action on the field to do the talking!

  • redneck on July 8, 2008, 2:38 GMT

    why is every Asian poster so anti the ecb and cricket Australia what decisions have they made (past or present) that have done any sub continent team harm or given them reason to be so against them? why not put zimbabwe in the intercontinental cup being played amongst top affiliate nations and give who ever wins full membership that way if Zimbabwe's cricket is good enough they will rightfully be a icc full member and when they don't win due to no money being spent on their domestic structure and their player pool being the worst its been since they received full membership due to ZC's corruption then the icc will have 10 full members who deserve to be there! fyi Rohan Ireland is the highest ranked non test playing nation now and ChandraKS what on earth are you on about the north Atlantic treaty organization for? only one nation is a full member of the icc and NATO (england) so as a Aussie myself how or why should the bcci "screw the living daylights" out of us???

  • amyhar on July 6, 2008, 10:25 GMT

    England and her friends should be embarrassed that they have managed to squeeze Zimbabwe out of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup. For ages we've been told that Chingoka & company are looting ZC coffers. First Pricewaterhousecoopers did the accounts and they were disputed. Then came another indigenous company and the findings were deemed fraudulent. Then the ICC brought in KPMG (SA) for a forensic audit which again failed to nail Chingoka. As much as I personally dislike the man, it's absolutely unfair to fix him when there is no evidence. That said, Mugabe is evil, yes, but why punish cricket? Mugabe's stealing of elections thru violence was just a godsend of pple who have for long wanted Zim chucked out of international cricket. It's a shame. It's not necessarily true that all the players who have left -- white & black -- it's becoz of Chingoka. I hope Britain and all other hypocrites look at their own political records, look at Pakistan, Bangladesh, SA (xenophobia) and kick em out of ICC.

  • Clickinfo on July 6, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    I assume Jeff was trying to be ironic when he said that democracy was the most important thing. Is that democracy Mugabe-style, when you wipe out the opposition ahead of the election, or ZCU-style, when you remove all opponents before having an election. The board has killed cricket and made themselves rich. What, dear Jeff, is remotely democratic about that?

  • Gilbert123456789 on July 6, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    I think Mr Williamson has forgotten the single most important concept of modern day world.

    "DEMOCRACY"

    This has nothing to do with what one Bloc thinks. He is a supreme master of spin - I believe this is an article on Cricketing issues. But reading this makes me think it is an anti Mugabe article with loads of conspiracy theory and very little evidence.

    I may not know much about Zimbabwe politics, but I am sane enough to remember different people have different opinions. ICC as any other organisation is practising Democracy! Please live with it - You win some, you lose some Mr. Williamson!

    Jeff

  • sitoten on July 6, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    ICC was right. The more dumb decisions they make like this, the quicker they will destry themselves.

  • slugger1969 on July 6, 2008, 3:34 GMT

    This is a complete farce. The ICC are slowly but surely dragging cricket under. Power mad and a rule unto themselves. Talk of Iraq, etc is total rubbish. This situation is chalk and cheese compared to it and if you cannot see that then stop wasting other people's time by writing in on this subject. I used to look forward to cricket games so much. Now there is constant cricket. We are waterlogged with it as the ICC and various controlling bodies try to drag as much money into their coffers as possible. These moronic decisions from the ICC is only a very small step from pressure being put on players to fix results. Pressure from boards or ICC members to determine results so deals can be done in the boardroom. If this situation continues for another few years or so, I see the beginning of the death of International cricket. I think it is that bad.

  • Ozcricketwriter on July 6, 2008, 1:57 GMT

    As far as I am concerned, as soon as Henry Olonga was forced to flee the country, Zimbabwe's position as an international cricketing country should have ended. Such behaviour, which was later followed up by most of their best cricketers (especially including Heath Streak) being targetted was abysmal. The fact that this behaviour mirrors what is going on in the country is why they need to be banned. Sri Lanka had a civil war yet it didn't greatly affect their cricketers - they even had Muttiah Muralitharan enter as a Tamil in spite of the civil war involving them. This situation is the same kind of situation as apartheid South Africa. Had South Africa during apartheid picked black cricketers, or picked cricketers based on talent rather than race, all would be fine. If Zimbabwe was picking based on talent, all would be fine. The problem is that they are not. The problem is that they are mixing politics with cricket. This is why their political situation is relevant.

  • Brendanvio on July 6, 2008, 1:35 GMT

    Sigh......no matter how much we try to divorce politics from the state of the game, someone brings it up again, and then someone automatically declares racial overtones against the 'White' countries.

    The fact still remains that grassroots cricket in Zimbabwe is no exsistant, and that is the problem that needs to be adressed. Why is it a crime to reduce Zimbabwe's status when it is clear that they are no longer a force at international level and will not be as long as there is no money in the game?

    I implore people to think on that basis rather than that of racism or political links.

  • ChinmayD on July 5, 2008, 21:33 GMT

    Agree that Zimbabwe should be stripped off their test status and their place up the ICC high table unless they improve. But, on purely cricketing terms, they should be allowed to play in Qualification matches for T20 WC as an associate country. Would ECB risk that?

  • JackJ on July 5, 2008, 19:47 GMT

    The interesting thing is the Windies don't back the S Asian group! This Zim thing is not a racial issue, between white on one hand, and brown and black on the other? Its about the despicable behaviour of the illegal Mugabe regime, and also about the corruption of ZCU, Chingoka and Bvute in particular, who are linked to Mugabe. These 2 are using the $11 million of ICC funds to support their rich lifestyles while Zim cricket languishes, weeds grow on the cricket fields, and people starve! Its disgusting that the BCCI supports these brutes purely to gain votes. Worse, its noticeable that its Indian fans who are raising racist issues about this whole affair? Have they forgotten that Britain granted independence to both India and Pakistan in 1947? As for raising Iraq, its laughable! Saddam was one of the worst despots in history, who used CBW to kill his political opponents! The Iraqi govt of today is democratic and regards the US as its ally! Posters raising Iraq are utterly ignorant.

  • ChandraKS on July 5, 2008, 17:44 GMT

    All those who complain about the BCCI now know how others feel when we watch how NATO operates in the real world. I think the BCCI should continue to screw the daylights out of the 'white' voting block

  • Calavai on July 5, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    OK, England and Australia supported the Iraq invasion, a blatant attack on a sovereign country for the wrong and made up reasons. Is that not human rights violation? Should these countries not be banned from Cricket?

  • rkdeexit on July 5, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    Digging up colonialism and past veto behavior of the "powers" that be, though valid, is not constructive. On the other hand iraq is not history. Zimbabwe should be suspended. And so should the aggressors who routinesly attack and maim countries (ENG/AUS for the politically naive). BTW, voting out an aussie prime minister after the fact is not a show of humanism or opposition to war. Its just calming the voter's conscience and shifting the blame. ZIM is a small thug. If we side with the big thugs to get the small one, how are we going to get the big ones?

  • Ropsh on July 5, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    Your entire article shows just how biased against African nations you are, a fact clearly demonstrated by your claim that Scotland & Ireland are the leading associates, when, in fact, Kenya has been the leading non-test playing nation for over a decade now.

  • kingofspain on July 5, 2008, 14:29 GMT

    India has been an independent country since 1947- that's likely the entire lifespan of everyone posting on this board. It's time to get over the imperialist past and act like adults.

  • dynamco on July 5, 2008, 14:28 GMT

    Mugabe and his almost dead regime is one thing (BTW when's the peace keeping force arriving ?) The fact is they are no longer good enough to beat an Australian 'A' grade side let alone a State side, nor the equivalent in other major cricket nations. They would struggle in South Africa's Premier club division. Even lowly Bangladesh could trash them. People like Hadlee, Holding and and Lillee must think what is the point of having cricket stats when they could have zapped the whole team twice in a day. When the country is put right they can set their cricket right again. Meanwhile they should not be paid Test status funds into the black hole of their accounts or administrators' pockets. Can we not remember Taibu going into hiding fearing for his safety and the Heath Streak demise ?

  • Lizzyp on July 5, 2008, 11:26 GMT

    Whatever the history behind Zimbabwe, it's unfortunate that today, any mention of the country will make peoples blood boil for whatever reason. Having now skimmed through the comments I feel that I must point out that many of the people posting have themselves made statements that demonstrate political bias. Only a few weeks ago there was talk of sport and politics being like oil and water - they should never mix, and yet here we are now with the pages of Cricinfo sinking into the mire of political comment by both journalists and readers. Maybe the time has come for Cricinfo to focus solely on the sport itself. Yes, there will be times that politics impacts on sport, but just report the facts, and leave the opinions for the editorial pages of the broadsheets.

  • Clickinfo on July 5, 2008, 11:17 GMT

    People who dredge up Iraq or talk of the empire utterly miss the point. On a purely cricket level, Zimbabwe are not good enough to play at the highest level and there is more than enough evidence to confirm their board benefits from association with the Robert Mugabe government. Thousands are dead, millions homeless and the country is ruled by terror. If people still think that harping back to history will make all that better, pity them.

    And for all those who argue that this is politics and nothing to do with sport, ask yourself this. Would you go to Zimbabwe to watch a cricket match tomorrow?

  • offspin79 on July 5, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    Wrong fight to pick in the wrong forum and for an ill-defined cause. If one or more member try to coerce the other into a better bargain, it will further harm the ICC's primary mandate(s) for a forseeable future. So, taking a step back is in the interst of everyone...

  • anzen on July 5, 2008, 10:36 GMT

    The thing i can't understand is why people keep dragging up the past actions of the ICC when the ECB and the ACB had veto rights. The issue is the standard of cricket that Zimbabwe is producing, which frankly has been utter rubbish since the turn of the century, apart from the odd ODI win over a test playing nation. I think that the ICC needs to change its levels of payment to the members. For those who regularly play international cricket at test and ODI lvl more money should be given. For those who play mainly ODI cricket, like most of the associate nations payments should be made accordingly on a lower lvl to those of the test playing nations. That way a situation like the Zimbabwe one won't occur. If a nation doesn't play test match cricket for a period of time in the top bracket then they get demoted in terms of there payments,with no votes or anything, it should just be a rule. It will also keep politics as far away from the game as possible.

  • wulliemc1973 on July 5, 2008, 10:33 GMT

    I don't understand wht the comments have degenerated into a landscape of politics and bitterness. This is a cricket website. In purely cricketing terms, Zim cannot sustain an international team that can compete, no matter what the underlying reasons.

    On that basis, I believe it is wholly unfair that they be paid several millions dollars whilst not competing in a tournament that others will, but be paid significantly less. IMHO, it is for cricketing reasons that Zim be on a level playing field with senior associate members. If that is achieved by removing their full member status, or promoting the likes of Sco, Ire and Ken, so be it.

    Concentrate on cricket, and if you want to discuss politics, imperialism, racism, or something other than cricket, find another web site.

  • Donaz07 on July 5, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    It's interesting to see so many of those who have posted comments keep going back to political issues which arose in various nations at various times. Yes, what these people have commented on is true, there is no denying that but the fact of the matter is that these issues never affected the state of cricket in those countries. It seems that we have forgotten the one issue in the past that did, aparthied in South Africa, a time when this nation was expelled from international cricket, a situation all too similar to that in Zimbabwe. But i do not believe politics should play a hand, it is the state of cricket which is the issue. The ICC deny that the state of cricket in Zimbabwe is in dissaray, how can this be denied when all the countries top cricketers have fled, the fact that the first class system in the country is a shambles, if this is the case at the top level god knows how bad things are at the grass roots level, how can we believe there is a future for Zimbabwean cricket.

  • mcotso on July 5, 2008, 7:20 GMT

    To all those who believe this is a white v black issue do you not understand or follow what Mugabe has been up to in the past decade at least? Mugabe does not discriminate due to colour, this is evidenced ny the thousands fleeing the country as their families are slaughtered by this disgusting regime. Someone mentioned he "just" took back the land the white people took, sorry that is not all he has done and maybe ask the black majority of Zimbabwe if todays country is now better for his actions and if they now are in power. If we shift to cricket only issues, I think action needed to be taken when the top cricketing talent was forced to leave the country for their and their families own safety, never to return. This is the reason behind the rapid drop in standard. In cricket we appreciate all talent, regardless of colour. Why are we all happy to mention names like Lara, Tendulkar, Bradman etc in the same breath? It's moronic to believe this is a racial decision.

  • JaySarkar on July 5, 2008, 5:19 GMT

    History cannot be wished away. Conflicts in Ireland, Israel, etc are examples.Those in Asia and Africa have for years seen thousands being killed by the British/europeans historically.add US in Vietnam and Iraq recently;nothing new.Millions homeless?Millions died! in India when rice was sent to soldiers in Burma in 1945 by UK.(China is killing its people now).Going to Zimbabwe?For many writing in,violence is a reality where they live.When UK will play by different rules with other coutnries where oil, manufacturing goods, IT and rest is concerned, singling out Mugabe and Zimbabwe just because he thumbs his nose particularly at UK for this reason exactly, is playing right into his hands. Asking ppl to think and feel differently is hypocrisy and hiding one's head in the sand.One needs to pity self-righteous zealots who believe their version of 'atrocity' is the only valid one;and for the rest?They say,'oh grow up,forget and forgive,two wrongs dont make a right'.Zim plays until UN bans it

  • IndianMigrant on July 5, 2008, 4:13 GMT

    English and Australians who have the blood of innocent iraqi civilians in their hand have no right to talk about morality, ethics or even about the atrocities of Mugabe. Please English and Austrlian media stop preaching your hypocritical sense of justice and dubious ethics. BCCI and Zimbabwe cricket board have better morals and acting much more ethically than british and australian govt ever did

  • corpusninja on July 5, 2008, 1:07 GMT

    I'm sorry, but what is England's importance in this issue? None. They are one of many ICC full members, who have given their opinion/vote on the issue and despite their perceived political clout, they should receive absolutely no more weighting. Gordon Brown is a nobody in the cricketing world and as a consequence an irrelevance to ICC decisions. His government is an irrelevance to cricketing matters. As are any perceived moral high grounds on this issue on part of the British press or any others.

    The decision has been made - lets move on. Zimbabwe cricket probably isn't going to recover until Mugabe leaves, but banning Zimbabwe cricket isn't going to make that any more likely.

  • sp000 on July 4, 2008, 23:07 GMT

    I disagree with a quite a few statements made in this article and the generally biased tone. Firstly, the fact that India and its Asian allies backed Zimbabwe should not be an issue at all. If Aus, Eng, NZ and SA can collectively back each other with their votes on a number of issues, then why cant the four asian countries and West Indies back Zimbabwe at a time when it so desperately needs their help. If the standard of Zimbabwe cricket is an issue, ICC would never be able to globalize the game if they are going to remove countries that have given so much to world cricket(eg.Flower brothers). Presently, ICC has only 10 full members and by speculating on removing Zimbabwe, ICC seems to be dragging the game back as opposed to promoting it. Why was Kenya demoted from being a full member inspite of having made it to the semi finals of the 2003 world cup by defeating 3 test playing nations (SL,ZIM & BAN). To the members that voted against Zimbabwe..MOVE THE GAME FORWARD,DONT DRAG US BEHIND

  • Clickinfo on July 4, 2008, 22:25 GMT

    People who dredge up Iraq or talk of the empire utterly miss the point. On a purely cricket level, Zimbabwe are not good enough to play at the highest level and there is more than enough evidence to confirm their board benefits from association with the Robert Mugabe government. Thousands are dead, millions homeless and the country is ruled by terror. If people still think that harping back to history will make all that better, pity them.

    And for all those who argue that this is politics and nothing to do with sport, ask yourself this. Would you go to Zimbabwe to watch a cricket match tomorrow?

  • JaySarkar on July 4, 2008, 19:43 GMT

    I despair at the blatant politicisation of the Zimbabawe issue within the Cricinfo pages that reflects the larger malaise within cricket - on both sides - the self righteous England and the holier-than-thou BCCI. For heaven's sake let us think of the larger sporting bodies - FICA, Olympics, etc. who have not inter-married sports and politics yet and for right reasons. Beating 10% of your small coterie of cricketing nations isnt the way forward . Ireland and Scotland may have better domestic set-ups but fare no better than some mediocre state sides, barring the flash in the pan Irish exploits. Zim did similar things in the World Cup. Until the UN or other international bodies recommends broad sanctions and major sporting association follow suit, should ICC intervene. Those that blame ICC of inaction are somewhat over-zealous with a vigilante attitude and as journalists they ought to focus on cricket rather than the machinations behind it. Leave that to politicians please.

  • Veel on July 4, 2008, 19:12 GMT

    As someone who considers himself a patriotic Brit, I am mostly ashamed of the British Empire, and do not revere Colin Cowdry as many do because of his complicity in appeasing some of White ruled South Africa's racist policies - but why refuse to act morally now because of immoral decisions in the past? Or because the Olympics are held in China? Since some criminals escape punishment, should we put none in jail because that is 'unfair' on those who are caught? I. Politics and cricket in Zimbabwe are linked by the direct actions of the corrupt regime in power. II. Zimbabwean cricket is not of a standard befitting full member status - they are vastly below the standard of the West Indies; can anyone imagine them putting up the fight WI have against a full strength Australian side? Sure Martin was wrong to name just Ireland and Scotland, and not Kenya as well as the three strongest associates - this does not invalidate his other sensible points.

  • ScottWozniak on July 4, 2008, 18:47 GMT

    Excellent article Martin, It's gratifying that at least one UK journalist can see past the fluff, spin, smoke and mirrors the ICC use to shroud their meetings with.

    The real losers here of course are the ECB, who have to all intents and purposes 'sold out' to the greed of money in the T20 World Cup, in that sens ethey're little better than the BCCI themselves.

    What Giles Clarke should have done is 'swung the axe' and taken this opportunity to press unrelentlessly for Zimbabwe's demotion to Associate status, threatening to reisng from the ICC if their demands were not met. As you've rightly pointed out, the ICC members would have been scared witless that one of their 'biggest cash cows' is threatening to break away and go it on their own. The likes of the BCCI would soon have realised what that would mean and started distancing themselves from zimbabwe as fast as they could.

    Because Clarke lacks the balls to use that tactic, the BBCI and their lackeys Zimbabwe get away with it, again

  • Umair_umair on July 4, 2008, 18:28 GMT

    I think this passage says it all. "You have to feel for leading Associates such as Scotland and Ireland. They play more cricket than Zimbabwe, have far superior domestic structures and thoroughly professional and transparent administrative set-ups. And yet they have to sit back and watch every penny as the dollars pour into the void of Zimbabwe cricket's accounts."

    You can include Kenya in that list too.

  • maj57 on July 4, 2008, 18:13 GMT

    I agree with you vakkaraju. Today was a sad day not only for Cricket but for those who believe in Human Rights and respect for others. The ICC should have sent a message to Mugabe by taking full member status off Zimbabwe. Thanks to BCCI they are still allowed to receive millions and millions of Dollars which are supposed to go and help cricket in Zimbabwe but end up in in the pockets of Mugabe and his friends.

    However we have to face the reality that BCCI have too much influence on Cricket. This in itself is a big problem.

    Maybe sometime in the near future someone with influence inside or outside of cricket will start to think about the people of Zimbabwe who have been murdered because of Mugabe and those who are suffering because of Mugabe. My thoughts and prayers are with those people!!

  • kalyanbk on July 4, 2008, 18:05 GMT

    If the Mugabe Regime was the reason to oust Zimbabwe, then why don't we also boycott the Chinese Olympics over what happened in Tibet? If anarchy and perceived security reasons are the cause you won't find Sri Lanka and Pakistan being sympathetic because of the countries that are refusing to tour them even at the time when India (possibly worst affected) is playing there. If corruption among administrators who are swallowing the money meant to develop cricket is the reason to oust Zimbabwe you won't find support from many administrators/politicians in many boards simply because politicians and administrators fatten themselves this way and you are hitting their very livelihood. Who knows how many skeletons in the closet are there in all the cricket boards? Remember the likes of Sharad Pawar is a career politician who is as averse to accountability as a cat to water. So what happened was merely business and inevitable. Welcome to the politics India has suffered for 60 years.

  • ivanjoseph on July 4, 2008, 17:32 GMT

    Hold on for a moment. Martin Williamson wants Zimbabwe out and Scotland and Ireland in. What's the hidden agenda here - more white votes so they can get more decisions in their favor. Don't buy this for a minute. Remember the days when the ICC stood for Imperial Cricket Conference and England and Australia had veto power. Cricket was at a virtual standstill for about a 100 years while these countries condescended to tolerate everybody else.

    Now there is so much self righteous indignation when they find themselves in the minority and often at the receiving end. For those who know their history, the crimes of the British Empire were far worse than what Mugabe is accused of doing. And after all he just took back land that the whites had appropriated and exploited for centuries! Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it!!

  • rv770 on July 4, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    The color of the hand depends on the side you are looking at. However many cricket fans believe that the ICC reached best possible decision to hold world 20-20 cup and to keep satisfy European/pacific boards. These boards still have lot of influence and act as "if it is good i did it, if it is bad you did it" and uses various media (incl. press) which are in their control which publishes what is good for them such as...

  • anmn on July 4, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    Its really a shame the India let Colonial English and their allies had their way. Its really a shame still africans are still under "ohter's" yoke. Its really a shame english officials achieved political gains in the name of cricket. Its really a shame India could not crush english hegemony this time.Its really a shame inspite of being spectator of cricket business english could do these dirty manoueveres.

  • delboy on July 4, 2008, 16:02 GMT

    I would like the ICC to take the same steps against the West Indies based on the level of uncompetitiveness of their cricket. This is not due to the fault of any dictator. England should NOT be allowed to play the WI and Stanfords money go elsewhere. MONEY TALK.

  • vakkaraju on July 4, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    It is a shame that Zimbabwe can get away with what they do. They have only the BCCI to thank for it. The BCCI may want to be a leader of the ICC but they sure lack the will, the vision and real commitment for the cricket in that country. The politics and the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe should make every human being sad and letting cricket and its funding contribute to the power of the ruling party is totally revulsive. Mr. Pawar you should be held responsible for being an accessory to the crime.

  • pun8max on July 4, 2008, 15:32 GMT

    I agree with Anjo. We need to change voting system in the ICC. It should be organized on the pattern of business organizations with financial contribution determining the voting rights, just likes shares for the shareholders. That is the only fair system. Rest is all the desire to live in the imperialist age long gone by.

  • Farce-Follower on July 4, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    It is time India acted decisively and booted out Zimbabwe. However, that is too much moral spine to expect from Sharad Pawar, Modi and co. Now that Pawar is battling for his own political future in India, this would be akin to working overtime. Nope, not possible.

    BCCI can never recognise a moment-of-truth for what it is. They are more adept in giving opinions when least needed.

  • mikeyp44 on July 4, 2008, 15:07 GMT

    anjo, what give ireland and scotland a vote, and lose BCCI control over cricket, nver going to happen..

  • Anjo on July 4, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    I really don't know why the ICC didn't go the whole way and decide to buy arms with Zimbabwe's funding allotment and ship them over. Maybe the teams that plan on keeping ties with ZC can strike deals that would replace tours with shipping arms equivalent to the amount Zimbabwe would receive for the tour. Maybe its time for the associate nations to get half a vote. Why not?

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  • Anjo on July 4, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    I really don't know why the ICC didn't go the whole way and decide to buy arms with Zimbabwe's funding allotment and ship them over. Maybe the teams that plan on keeping ties with ZC can strike deals that would replace tours with shipping arms equivalent to the amount Zimbabwe would receive for the tour. Maybe its time for the associate nations to get half a vote. Why not?

  • mikeyp44 on July 4, 2008, 15:07 GMT

    anjo, what give ireland and scotland a vote, and lose BCCI control over cricket, nver going to happen..

  • Farce-Follower on July 4, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    It is time India acted decisively and booted out Zimbabwe. However, that is too much moral spine to expect from Sharad Pawar, Modi and co. Now that Pawar is battling for his own political future in India, this would be akin to working overtime. Nope, not possible.

    BCCI can never recognise a moment-of-truth for what it is. They are more adept in giving opinions when least needed.

  • pun8max on July 4, 2008, 15:32 GMT

    I agree with Anjo. We need to change voting system in the ICC. It should be organized on the pattern of business organizations with financial contribution determining the voting rights, just likes shares for the shareholders. That is the only fair system. Rest is all the desire to live in the imperialist age long gone by.

  • vakkaraju on July 4, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    It is a shame that Zimbabwe can get away with what they do. They have only the BCCI to thank for it. The BCCI may want to be a leader of the ICC but they sure lack the will, the vision and real commitment for the cricket in that country. The politics and the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe should make every human being sad and letting cricket and its funding contribute to the power of the ruling party is totally revulsive. Mr. Pawar you should be held responsible for being an accessory to the crime.

  • delboy on July 4, 2008, 16:02 GMT

    I would like the ICC to take the same steps against the West Indies based on the level of uncompetitiveness of their cricket. This is not due to the fault of any dictator. England should NOT be allowed to play the WI and Stanfords money go elsewhere. MONEY TALK.

  • anmn on July 4, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    Its really a shame the India let Colonial English and their allies had their way. Its really a shame still africans are still under "ohter's" yoke. Its really a shame english officials achieved political gains in the name of cricket. Its really a shame India could not crush english hegemony this time.Its really a shame inspite of being spectator of cricket business english could do these dirty manoueveres.

  • rv770 on July 4, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    The color of the hand depends on the side you are looking at. However many cricket fans believe that the ICC reached best possible decision to hold world 20-20 cup and to keep satisfy European/pacific boards. These boards still have lot of influence and act as "if it is good i did it, if it is bad you did it" and uses various media (incl. press) which are in their control which publishes what is good for them such as...

  • ivanjoseph on July 4, 2008, 17:32 GMT

    Hold on for a moment. Martin Williamson wants Zimbabwe out and Scotland and Ireland in. What's the hidden agenda here - more white votes so they can get more decisions in their favor. Don't buy this for a minute. Remember the days when the ICC stood for Imperial Cricket Conference and England and Australia had veto power. Cricket was at a virtual standstill for about a 100 years while these countries condescended to tolerate everybody else.

    Now there is so much self righteous indignation when they find themselves in the minority and often at the receiving end. For those who know their history, the crimes of the British Empire were far worse than what Mugabe is accused of doing. And after all he just took back land that the whites had appropriated and exploited for centuries! Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it!!

  • kalyanbk on July 4, 2008, 18:05 GMT

    If the Mugabe Regime was the reason to oust Zimbabwe, then why don't we also boycott the Chinese Olympics over what happened in Tibet? If anarchy and perceived security reasons are the cause you won't find Sri Lanka and Pakistan being sympathetic because of the countries that are refusing to tour them even at the time when India (possibly worst affected) is playing there. If corruption among administrators who are swallowing the money meant to develop cricket is the reason to oust Zimbabwe you won't find support from many administrators/politicians in many boards simply because politicians and administrators fatten themselves this way and you are hitting their very livelihood. Who knows how many skeletons in the closet are there in all the cricket boards? Remember the likes of Sharad Pawar is a career politician who is as averse to accountability as a cat to water. So what happened was merely business and inevitable. Welcome to the politics India has suffered for 60 years.