Nervous times for under-fire Chingoka
Peter Chingoka, Zimbabwe Cricket's beleagured chairman, is believed to be holding talks with Ray Mali, the acting president of the ICC, while they attend the second Test between South Africa and West Indies at Newlands.
Mali, as with most senior South African administrators, is a staunch supporter of Zimbabwe's cause, but he will have been deeply embarrassed by Chingoka's comments to the local media following a supposedly private meeting between the two of them and Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman. An angry Clarke reported complained to the ICC about Chingoka's remarks, which included a claim that Clarke had offered money in return for Zimbabwe cancelling their 2009 tour of England. Clarke denied that any offer had been made.
A source close to the ICC told Cricinfo that the backing for Zimbabwe which Chingoka has enjoyed from his colleagues on the ICC's executive board is beginning to waver, and Chingoka's own position is thought to have weakened in the light of ongoing allegations of financial mismanagement levelled against him.
Last summer a leaked document from Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, made some serious claims against the financial management of ZC, and an independent forensic audit commissioned by the ICC is due to be presented at the next executive board meeting in March. If, as some suggest, that endorses Speed's concerns then Mali will be wary of publicly aligning too closely with Chingoka.
Chingoka has bullishly claimed of late that Zimbabwe will regain Test status by 2009, but his talks with Mali are likely to centre on more pressing matters.