'Zimbabwe cricket is the loser' October 19, 2004

Ex-players speak out against ICC ruling

Wisden Cricinfo Staff

Stuart Carlisle: 'Zimbabwe cricket is the loser' © Getty Images
Henry Olonga and Stuart Carlisle, two prominent former Zimbabwe players, have spoken out in condemnation of the ICC's finding that there was no evidence of racism within the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU).

"It's a way out for the ICC in one way, they've washed their hands of it," Olonga told BBC Radio Five Live yesterday. "The ICC were in a very difficult position if the ZCU were found guilty of racism, not only on the rebel players, but in selection in general."

Carlisle, one of the 15 rebels who walked out of international cricket this April, was more forthright. "There's racism all over the world," he told The Guardian, "and the fact that you can categorically state that there is no racism in Zimbabwe cricket is a joke."

Although Carlisle revealed that the number of rebels has been reduced to just "myself, Trevor Gripper and Heath Streak", he remained adamant that "the ZCU might have won the battle but they've lost the war for cricket. Zimbabwe cricket is the loser."

The conclusion of the ICC investigation has almost quashed any lingering hope of the rebels resuming their careers. "I don't really know where we go from here," Carlisle said. "We probably could still go to arbitration but there's almost no point in that."

But at least one option remains open: "I think we should have a chat with [Richard] Bevan in the next day or two and see if there is a way forward for us." Bevan is currently assessing the security situation in Zimbabwe for England's tour there next month, in his role as the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association.

"The ICC has sat on the fence in the past few months," added Carlisle. "They've swept the problem under the carpet. They think it's going to go away, but it won't."