Bids to resume career May 12, 2008

Vermeulen offers to help rebuild Academy

Cricinfo staff

Mark Vermeulen has offered to help rebuild the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy - the same building he burned down in an arson attack in 2007.

Vermeulen, who was cleared of the offence on psychiatric grounds last October, has offered to pay some of the construction costs if he is allowed to return to playing the game.

"I'm jobless at the moment, the only job I can do is playing cricket. I've kindly asked ZC to give me my job back, then I will give a percentage of my earning towards rebuilding of the Academy," he told Zimbabwe's Independent newspaper.

He admitted that his attempts to resume a first-class career have been stalled. "I went down to Bulawayo to try to play for Westerns," he said. "I was told I had to get permission from someone at the offices in Harare." His chances of that are probably not helped by the fact that he also tried to burn down the board offices the day before the Academy attack.

On playing ability alone, Zimbabwe cricket desperately needs players of Vermeulen's experience and ability to provide some backbone to the first-class game. But his previous history hardly makes the board likely to welcome him back with open arms, despite his assurance that he is now mentally and physically stable to play again following psychiatric rehabilitation.

The news also raises questions about the state of the Academy which the board claimed would be finished by the end of April but which seems to be behind schedule.