Boycott continues as board are probed November 29, 2005

Zimbabwe player strike could force tour cancellation

Cricinfo staff

Blessing Mahwire: 'We will all walk away from Zimbabwe Cricket' © Getty Images
Under fire Zimbabwe cricket chairman Peter Chingoka's bid to head off a rebellion by most of the country's first-class cricketers appears to have been dashed with an announcement by senior players that they would not play until an investigation into the board's activities by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) had been completed. The probe could take weeks.

A number of the players met on Monday in the aftermath of Tatenda Taibu's resignation as captain and his retirement from the national side, and Blessing Mahwire and Clive Field, the players' representative, told reporters that they had decided to continue to refuse to play for Zimbabwe pending the outcome of the investigation.

"We are standing down until two things are resolved by the board," said Mahwire. "First they have to pay the players their match fees for the India and New Zealand fixtures. The second thing is Chingoka and Ozias Bvute [the ZC managing director] have to step down." And Mahwire made it clear that the players were in no mood to compromise. Either Chingoka and Bvute go, or they go. "We will all walk away from Zimbabwe Cricket," he warned. "We have made a stand and we stand by that. Its now or never. Basically what this would mean is the end of cricket in Zimbabwe."

Mahwire also slammed Chingoka and Bvute for their handling of Taibu. "They gladly accepted his resignation. That was a sign that they are only concerned with their survival and not the welfare of players. These guys are simply not doing anything good for the sport."

The news means that Zimbabwe will in all probability have to withdraw from a proposed A-team tour to Bangladesh scheduled for January. The selectors were due to announce a side later this week, but faced without any credible players to pick from, they appear to be backed into a corner.

Chingoka met with SRC officials on Monday and was grilled for more than three hours. Taibu was due to be questioned, but Chingoka's examination took longer than expected and he had to return today. Chingoka and Bvute have also been investigated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe about foreign currency dealings.