ONE of the world’s biggest cricket stars, Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, has described the International Cricket Council’s suspension of Zimbabwe as “heartbreaking,’’ and says he is praying that “the lovely cricket nation returns to its glory as soon as possible.’’
Last week’s boardroom drama continues to divide opinion with former Zimbabwe captain, Tatenda Taibu, saying he was in support of the intervention taken by the Sport and Recreation Commission and said its chairman, Gerald Mlotshwa, was someone he could trust.
“So, the decision was made by @ICC to suspend Zimbabwe. The Minister of Sport @KirstyCoventry appointment (of) a (reputable) independent @ZimbabweSrc board chaired by a gentleman who lifted our Rugby union from the dumps,’’ tweeted Taibu.
“A board who can and will clean out the corruption in cricket.
As @KirstyCoventry has mentioned already, there was no Gvt interference. If @ZimbabweSrc is Gvt by virtue of being appointed by the Ministry of Sport then explain how Mukhuhlani is a Member of Parliament and not considered Gvt.
“SRC, you have my utmost backing for your stand.’’
Ashwin, the 32-year-old Indian superstar who won the 2006 ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year, said he was concerned about the impact of the ICC ban on players and the game in Zimbabwe.
He is considered one of the finest spinners to grace the game and said he felt heartbroken when he learnt of the decision by the ICC to suspend Zimbabwe from the global cricket of nations, freeze funding and bar the country’s national teams from taking part in the international matches.
The Chevrons’ tour of Bangladesh for a tri-series, which also involves Afghanistan in October, and the Lady Chevrons’ ICC Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier in Scotland next month, are likely to be affected by the suspension.
The ICC have ordered that the suspended Zimbabwe Cricket board, led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani, should be reinstated, within the next three months, pending a review of their decision in October.
Mukuhlani and his board were suspended by the Sport and Recreation Commission after they did not heed a directive not to go ahead with their elective congress while the SRC have also called for a forensic audit of the ZC financial affairs.
In turn, Mukuhlani and his board have said they are willing to work with the SRC, following the country’s suspension by the ICC, to resolve issues that led to the impasse and have demanded that the Sports Commission make public an audit it conducted into their financial affairs last year.
Ashwin said a resolution has to be ironed out quickly for the sake of the players and the game in the country.
“Extremely heartbreaking news for all Zim cricketers and their fans, reading the tweets of @SRazaB24 (Sikandar Raza) just shows the agony of cricketers and how their lives have been taken away from them,’’ he tweeted.
“I pray that the lovely cricket nation returns to its glory asap (as soon as possible) #ZimbabweCricket.’’
Chevrons fast bowler Kyle Jarvis thanked Ashwin for taking a stance for the players and the game.
“Appreciate your words. Thank you @ashwinravi99.’’
Indian famed cricket commentator, Harsha Bhogle, said he was also concerned about the plight of the Zimbabwe cricketers.
“You’ve got to feel for the cricketers in Zimbabwe. They were fighting the odds, their administration was a shambles but, at least, they were playing, their scores were recorded, there was something to look forward to,’’ he said.
“I do hope it gets resolved soon.’’
India are the game’s global powerhouse and generate most of the funds that oil international cricket.
Lady Chevrons skipper Mary-Anne Musonda continued to grieve for her team at the week as she called for them to be given a chance to play their qualifier in Scotland and pleaded with the Sports Commission to help their cause.
“Thoughts of the #LadyChevrons NOT participating at the ICC Women’s T20 Global WCQ are horrific,’’ she tweeted. ”The @ICC ruled on Thursday. With this, @ZimbabweSrc should help our cause…#EnableTheLadyChevronsToGoScotland.
“A chance for a ticket to a different life, for millions of women out there in Zimbabwe. For generations of girls and women to come. Vanished in 3 weeks. Okay. Life. I’m sorry Lady Chevrons. I led. I tried.
“Pretty telling how nobody is mentioning our qualifiers. Our chance to qualify for the World Cup. My team is passionate, committed and would leave everything they have on the field of play to make the country proud.
‘’But, I guess, it still means nothing. I’m sorry Lady Chevrons.’’