Board under fire for not living up to apolitical claims March 29, 2004

Paul Strang accuses ZCU of wanting 'puppets'

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Paul Strang: 'It seems you have to be a 'yes man' and be a puppet on a string to play for the ZCU' © Getty Images
Less than 48 hours after it was revealed that Bryan Strang had been banned from playing domestic cricket by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), it has emerged that Paul, his older brother, has also been overlooked by his provincial side in rather strange circumstances.

Paul Strang played 24 Tests and 95 one-dayers for Zimbabwe between 1994 and 2001. Although Manicaland gave no reason for his being dropped last season, he has little doubt what was behind their decision.

"I wasn't given a reason, but when I was head of the players' association I had been very vocal about various aspects of the game I believed to be wrong, including the quotas system," he told BBC Sport. "It seems you have to be a 'yes man' and be a puppet on a string to play for the ZCU. They don't seem to apply the normal parameters for selection, but use other things than a player's statistics."

Former Zimbabwe fast bowler Henry Olonga, who now lives in the UK after fleeing his homeland following his black-armband protest during last year's World Cup, agreed with Strang's view. "According to the ZCU, they are an apolitical organisation, but the way they deal with any players who have shown any form of dissent is not consistent with that," he explained to BBC Sport. "I made my comments and I got censured. All sorts of things happened to me after I took my stance. Many players who have had the freedom to speak their minds about what's happened in Zimbabwe very often find themselves ostracised."

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union has declined to comment on the situation regarding the Strangs.