Zimbabwe news October 4, 2010

Grant Flower's comeback held up by paperwork

ESPNcricinfo staff

Grant Flower's return to international cricket at the age of 39 has encountered a temporary hitch after he was denied permission to depart for South Africa from Harare airport on Monday because of invalid travel documents.

"I've had a long day, but I think it's getting sorted out," Flower told ESPNcricinfo. "I should be on the flight to South Africa tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. I'm either going to get a new passport, or an emergency travel document."

Flower is set to play his first match for Zimbabwe in six years during their short series of two Twenty20 internationals and three ODIs against South Africa, having agreed to combine a playing return with his primary duty as national batting coach. However, he was left behind as the squad flew into Johannesburg, because his passport is still at the Zimbabwe Consulate in London awaiting renewal.

"We are hoping to resolve the matter in the next 24 hours," Zimbabwe team manager Lovemore Banda told Reuters. "Grant Flower had to travel on a temporary document because his passport is still in the embassy in London waiting for a visa application. Those temporary documents are usually accepted all over the world, but South Africa have recently changed their rules due to all their immigration problems."

Flower is one of Zimbabwe's most experienced cricketers of all time, having played in 67 Tests and 219 one-day internationals between 1992 and 2004, when he joined an exodus of senior players following the removal of Heath Streak from the captaincy. Streak has also rejoined the Zimbabwe fold as bowling coach, as the team seeks to re-emerge from the doldrums and build towards a competitive showing in the 2011 World Cup.

"Having some experience around is vital as we make our way back into international cricket and head towards test cricket, and there's no doubt Grant still has what it takes," said Alistair Campbell, the chief selector. "We're very excited about having him back in the team. He is still as fit as a 21-year-old, and had a brilliant season for Essex in the one-day game.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kingston on October 9, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    totally agree with robin and qdzy, we should be looking foward! there are plenty of good youngsters- lets be honest, even with the Goodwins , we were never world beaters....we just hoped to win the occasional match....i like the new generation because they believe that they can win each match they play regardless and they give it a good go....people like stuart and vusi were there when all these other guys ran off and abandoned the team for self interest. i like the new generation , love their attitude and swagger!! Zim for life....through thick and thin!!!

  • Qdzy on October 7, 2010, 20:27 GMT

    The cricket administrators should simply dig deep, place emphasis on well-structured development policies, especially in local clubs and tertiary institutions. A few more cricket academies around the country would be good.

    The more the game is played across the country the larger the pool of players to pick a strong national side from.

    And there's need to be patient with such an approach, it could pay-off 5-8 years later.

  • Qdzy on October 7, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    Aaagh!! C'mon guys ! For crying out loud !!...the guys from yesteryear no longer have a place on the field, no way!!! maybe on the coaching side of things.

    A lot of you guys talk about experience...? okay, can anyone tell me how long the following guys have been playing

    Tatenda Taibu Stuart Matsikinyeri Hamilton Masakadza Elton Chigumbura Charles Coventry Keith Dabengwa

  • Andrew on October 5, 2010, 22:25 GMT

    I'm in favour of Grant Flower, but no more. No Blignuat, no Friend, certainly no Goodwin (who had his arm twisted to play for Zim in the first place). I understand there was a need for players to abondon Zim cricket if they wanted to make a living from their skills, but there comes a point when you say enough. Get the likes of DeGrandhomme, Ballance, Cameron to lay their cards on the table, after that focus on players from the domestic league. I am in favour of Grant Flower as the one oldie who comes back. We put the wrong 'promising young talent' , v SA, in SA and he is likely to come back a frightened, discouraged, unsure shell of a player. It took the young Cremer 2 or 3 seasons to get his mojo back after the SA batsman ripped him apart.

  • robin on October 5, 2010, 18:22 GMT

    Sad to say but Zimbabwe should not expect much at this forthcoming World Cup, instead they should give their players a chance to playing in the tournament and then take positive from thier best performances and learn from mistake, most importantly they will get to know what it takes to win the cup and hopeful they can win they next World Cup. I'm really sorry, i'm a big fan of Grant Flower but the best he can do for Zimbabwe as a country and its cricket development is that he should take the proposed batting coach role and do his job well. Either way Zim has plenty players in their prime such as Andy Blignaut, Sean Irvine and Tinashe Panyangara. Even if Grant Flower is included in the world cup, he will most definitely not make an impact. We all know how county cricket level is nothing like the First Class cricket in South Africa, Australia and India, Pakistan. He will just make a fool of himself and look back at how selfish he had been in playing instead of nurturing the future!

  • Christopher on October 5, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    Tim/Robin - I have to disagree I'm afraid. The simple fact is that Grant Flower is one of the top 3 or 4 bats in Zimbabwe at the moment, he's still a fine fielder and can also throw down some handy part time spin. I agree that Zim should look to the future, however the World Cup is 6 months away, Flower will certainly be available for that and Zim will desperately want a good showing there, the best chance of that being with Flower in the team. I realize it's a hard balancing act getting the balance between youth and experience right but I feel that, certainly until the WC, that it is a just move. Get Ervine and Grandhomme back in the fold and there could be a couple of upsets on the cards.

  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    I agree with Robin Brown on his comments on the "Old Timers" lets get new blood from the under 19's and groom players such as Callum Price. How about Sikander Raza who is shining in the domestic league.

  • Dummy4 on October 5, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    I totally agree with the sentiments of @Robin_brown. This is the old Zim mafia (Streak, Campbell, Strangs & Flowers) back in action.... Zim cricket needs to look forward not backwards. People like Cameron (I thought he emigrated to NZ?), Taylor, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Ballance, Grandehomme (if he decides to play for Zim) etc... need to be given the opportunity to develop against top-flight sides like RSA etc.

    As to the visa issue... as per usual, RSA are doing Zim no favours...South Africa seems determined to prevent the development of cricket at all costs.

  • robin on October 4, 2010, 21:51 GMT

    I reckon that very same spot that grant flower is taking should instead be given to a promising youngster or either somebody who has been consistently performing in the current domestic competition. Campbell should stop backing his old time friend to play and instead use him to be batting coach or assistance coach, what ever the case. Experience is overated in some cases such as this, zimbabwe have gone through a lot and for them to move on as a country and progress in their cricket, they simply have to use their youngsters so that they can be experienced in the near future and this will be the new ear of zim cricket. Zimbabwe has a great bunch of youngsters still to come on show , just to mention, James Cameron, Kuda Samunderu, Gerry Penford and many more. I certainly don't Grant Flower's brilliant county season justifies his place as a player to the cause of developing zimbabwe cricket! That is the reason Heath Streak conducted a fast bowling camp, grant pliz do a batting camp!

  • shyda123 on October 4, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    Come on South Africa, let grant flower in to your country which will make the matches much interesting as well as more like an international. And you never know Zimbabwe might win, with help of grant flower first hundred.

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