Speed and Sonn end fact-finding trip August 1, 2006

ICC to decide on Zimbabwe's future



Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar and coach Dav Whatmore with ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed during breakfast at the Rainbow Towers Hotel © Tiger Cricket
The ICC delegation of Percy Sonn, the president, and Malcolm Speed, the chief executive, told journalists in Harare that they will hand-over their findings to the ICC board which will announce a resolution on Zimbabwe's future in the near future. Speed and Sonn have been in Zimbabwe since last Thursday.

`We have had some good meetings," Sonn told local journalists. "We will now go to our board to make appropriate recommendation."

Although ZC board chairman Peter Chingoka outlined areas discussed by his interim committee with the ICC delegation - such as "governance and handover to new dispensation" - both Sonn and Speed declined to give full detail of their meeting with the other stakeholders. Speed only said the issues were in "the public domain" over the last 12 months.

"It's apparent Zimbabwe is going through a difficult time," Speed explained. "We spent four hours with the stakeholders on Sunday afternoon. We went over the history of the last 12 months. I have to say that we now have a better understanding of some issues which we were not aware of, and I think they also now have a better understanding of our position regarding the issues, and ICC policies."

Speed, Sonn and Chingoka stressed that Zimbabwe will get more four-day games to prepare the team for Test resumption at the appropriate time. "We encourage that Zimbabwe play more multi-day games," Sonn said. "There is a need to play more longer version games. Whatever support the ICC shall give it shall give." Chingoka said the matches will be "over and above" the ICC Future Tours Programme.

Chingoka also dropped a hint that Zimbabwe may not resume Test commitments as scheduled next year, revealing that there was "confidential discussion of Test resumption" with ICC.

Speed also answered questions on the draft ZC constitution, and although admitting that they had "limited time in revising the draft constitution", was largely dismissive of the issue. Critics have claimed that it is little more than a mandate for the existing board to carry on without any accountability.

"We have seen the draft, and yes, the minister has the power to elect seven board members," he said. "It's not abnormal in cricket culture for government to have influence over cricket administration. We do not prescribe to our members how they should be governed. Each member has a different structure and different culture.

"We have been consistent with our policy. There are similar arrangements with our other members. In Pakistan the president appoints board members. There is infact a one-man board there. In Sri Lanka the government also appoints board members."

Chingoka was asked about the decision to sack Terry Duffin as Zimbabwe's captain, and he explained that it had been decided to appoint on a series-by-series basis. "It's a young side and we do not want to overburden an individual. We are trying to create balance," he explained. "For now we have appointed Prosper and he will remain captain unless there are reasons to do otherwise. The process is not rigid. Duffin remains in the picture, and as you know, he is more adept to the longer version."

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