Wisden Cricket Monthly / Features

February 2004

Face up to Zim reality

Peter Roebuck's article suggests that people opposed to sporting ties in an abnormal society are "contemptible"

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The following letter from BC Strang appeared in the February 2004 edition of the magazine

Peter Roebuck's article suggests that people opposed to sporting ties in an abnormal society are "contemptible". I challenge his simplistic view on sport and politics as naive and ill-informed.

I was selected as coach for Mashonaland West Under-12s. On the second day of our cricket week, with five minutes to start of play, I was adjusting the stumps when I was approached by an individual who I mistakenly believed was my fellow umpire. I extended my hand only to be racially abused and sworn at by the individual (who is in the employ of the ZCU) for dropping his player and was told "we are not interested in white players, only new Taibus". This tirade lasted for at least 10 minutes and was said in earshot of many young cricketers. I was shocked, angry and very scared.

This incident has been reported to the ZCU in writing and they have, in their wisdom, swept it under the carpet. To Mr Roebuck I say not all of the Zimbabwe cricketing community believe that Zimbabweans should be playing abroad as some of us know first-hand the politicisation and racialisation of cricket in Zimbabwe. Children are learning first-hand from coaches and policy-makers that skin colour matters. A union which promotes racial division and does nothing about hate speech should not be given the courtesy of touring democratic countries. What we need is for writers to think before they write, as words legitimise our reality.

BC Strang

This article was first published in the February 2004 issue of The Wisden Cricketer. Click here for further details.

© The Wisden Cricketer

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Players/Officials: Bryan Strang
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Zimbabwe
Teams: England | Zimbabwe
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