ZC chairman interview December 9, 2005

Chingoka fights back

Cricinfo staff

Peter Chingoka, the embattled Zimbabwe Cricket chairman, has come out fighting in an interview with the Herald newspaper.

Chingoka again trod the familiar line that all is well with the operations of ZC. When asked whether he was prepared to agree to a forensic audit, he replied that: "We have no problem with a forensic audit and are ready to provide for it, with board approval for this expenditure." But he again insisted the accounts had been approved and unanimously adopted at the AGM.

Asked about the meetings called by Ahmed Ebrahim, Chingoka said that there was "nothing in the ZC constitution that prevents people from getting together to discuss cricket and cricket issues. Should they feel strongly about what they would have discussed they then channel this into the normal ZC processes, which is to say the board, Annual General Meeting and the Special General Meeting."

And Chingoka took a swipe at Ebrahim himself. "He [Ebrahim] also echoed the concerns of the provincial chairmen and the players, which we found surprising considering that he is collectively bound by virtue of his being a ZC board member as, indeed, are some of the provincial chairmen."

As for the meetings on Monday and Wednesday, Chingoka said that he and Ozias Bvute were not invited on Monday, although Ebrahim claimed he had tried to do so. "I was only invited to the Wednesday meeting by Ebrahim less than two hours before the meeting when I phoned him to tell him that the crisis against which they intended to hold the meeting was no longer there because I had been released."

Chingoka also brushed aside the protests by the players, almost all of who have refused to represent Zimbabwe while he and Bvute remain in power. "We do not see this as the battle for the players. After successfully negotiating for them, the players have their contracts now. Some have signed them while others are still to. Because they got the conditions they asked for, we expect them to sign too." Asked if he would step down, he replied: "No-one is bigger than the game. However, my stepping down can only be for the good of the game if my staying on is not good for the game."

And he appeared to take solace from the non-interventionalist approach of the ICC. "You have their position on record as announced by the president, Ehsan Mani."

While there is no doubting the credentials of the interviewer, the Herald coverage of the crisis has been remarkable in its one-sidedness, and the Q&A needs to be viewed with that in mind. Moves against the board have been virtually ignored, while those opposing the Chingoka regime have often been portrayed as politically or racially motivated.

Critics of Chingoka would point to the questions that were not raised, in particular relating to the apparent gaping holes in the accounts, where much of ZC's income has gone, and why the players have been so critical of himself and Bvute and the way they have run Zimbabwe Cricket.