July 3, 2001

Alistair Campbell's diary: Reflections on Zimbabwean cricket's 'toughest hour'

As most of you probably have gathered, our participation in the Coca-Cola triangular tournament is now at an end. What a disappointment and anticlimax it has turned out to be! Our first tournament on home soil and we lose every game and fail to make the final, not exactly what was meant to happen.

However, misfortune, lack of focus on the field and general chaos and disharmony off it meant that this was one of the toughest and saddest periods in my career and indeed probably Zimbabwean cricket's life thus far. After a magnificent Test win, everything pointed to a solid showing in the Triangular Tournament, a berth in the finals and if we played well maybe even a victory.

However on the morning of the first game Heath Streak resigned as captain, citing untenable conditions with the selectors. The team in general also had little faith in the selectors and we played under protest with Grant Flower as captain. Heath was reinstated as captain the following morning and was made a selector along with the coach, which brought a modicum of sanity to proceedings. However since then the issues have continued to manifest themselves in the form of selectors resigning because they feel the players have too much power, and defamatory newspaper articles leaked by devious individuals within the cricket fraternity.

As professional players we are expected to play the game, however I tell you under these conditions it is nigh on impossible to fully focus on the job at hand. The courage, commitment and passion that are hallmarks of a Zimbabwe cricketer are being severely tested at this juncture. I can only hope that in this, Zimbabwean cricket's toughest hour, people will realise that cricket is bigger than any one person or group and that we have a duty to uphold the traditions and preserve this wonderful game.

Common ground must be found on a way forward for cricket in this country, involving the input of the key stakeholders. People must put aside their personal agendas and do what is best for cricket. All cricket lovers can ask for is that common sense prevails.