The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN cricket stakeholders are keeping their fingers crossed that the International Cricket Council (ICC) will lift the country’s suspension, with an announcement to be made tomorrow.
All is pointing to the ICC lifting Zimbabwe’s suspension, which will come as a huge sigh of relief to Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) employees who have gone for months without getting their salaries. The ICC board, the highest decision makers at the world cricket governing is meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with the gathering to come to an end tomorrow. It is then that a decision on the suspension of Zimbabwe Cricket will be made. An ICC spokesperson confirmed that Zimbabwe was on the agenda of the board meeting with a pronouncement to be made tomorrow.
“Zimbabwe’s suspension is on the agenda of the ICC board meeting, the communication on the outcome will be made on Monday post board meeting,” the spokesperson said.
It has been a difficult time for ZC employees, including players who have gone for four months without salaries since ICC suspended funding in June. The ICC board suspended Zimbabwe’s membership in July after they deemed that the action taken by the Sports and Recreation Commission amounted to Government interference in the running of the sport. In June, the SRC suspended the Tavengwa Mukuhlani-led ZC board after the latter went ahead with their elective annual general meeting in Victoria Falls against the advice of the country’s supreme sports governing body not to do so.
In suspending ZC, the ICC put in place conditions that had to be met for Zimbabwe to again enjoy the full benefits of being part the global cricketing family. One of the stipulations was that the SRC must reinstate the ZC board unconditionally and that proof must be provided that there shall be no interference in the operations of the cricket mother body. The SRC then lifted the ZC board suspension in August, which should pave way for Zimbabwe to be readmitted as a Full ICC Member, a status they have enjoyed since 1992.
Zimbabwe’s suspension has hit ZC where it hurts the most, that is in the pocket. With ZC heavily reliant on money from ICC as part of controlled funding agreement, their operations have been crippled by the withholding of that financial support. The domestic first class season is yet to get underway as ZC cannot afford to run it minus the money coming from the ICC.