|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
'The cancer is at the heart of the board'
April 25, 2004
One of the senior Zimbabwe 'rebel' players, who obviously needs to remain anonymous, spoke exclusively to Wisden Cricinfo in the last couple of days
What's just a game of cricket shouldn't be a matter of life or deathAs far as you are aware, how did this crisis begin?
Where do things stand with you at the moment?
We are now in a 21-day period before further action will be taken, and we're not sure which way it will go. They [the board] are claiming breach of contract against us, but the players believe that various transgressions on their part constitute breach of contract by them. They tried to get us to sign a statement yesterday to say there was a mediator involved who would act as a player's representative and we would go back to practice as of yesterday. We went back to Vince Hogg and told him we did not believe this was true and we were not prepared to sign it. So we are waiting for our lawyer to return from South Africa on Tuesday and then we will see where we are.
They are running scared because the team got thrashedHow is morale generally among the 'rebel' players?
Do you have any expectation that the letter the board
wanted you to sign yesterday show they want to work towards a genuine agreement
or be prepared to compromise, or do you think they are trying it on?
No, I don't think they want to address the important issues. They might be willing to change a couple of things which aren't that important, but the cancer of Zimbabwe cricket is at the heart of the board, and they won't want to change that. If that doesn't change, the policies running Zimbabwe cricket aren't going to change either. We think it's a red herring, and they're running scared because the team got thrashed the other day. Three major sponsors I understand have threatened to pull out, and there is major pressure on the Zimbabwe Cricket Union - and on us as well. It might go to court, but the guys are adamant and feel so strongly that they are willing to stick together and see out the cause. Costs may run into millions, and most of the guys can't afford that. But it looks like it might go that way, unless there is some sort of arbitration that can resolve the whole issue.
Do you fear possible reprisals against yourselves or your
That's a worst-case scenario, but I think the guys are aware it might get to that. What's just a game of cricket shouldn't be a matter of life or death.
Is there any kind of feeling about whether, under the
present circumstances, Australia and England should tour?
We haven't really thought too much about that side of things yet, but we know they are obliged to come and we can't change that.
They don't seem to care about us as players, and they seem determined to run Zimbabwe cricket their way at all costsAre many of the players considering leaving Zimbabwe now?
We have heard of examples of supposedly impartial board
officials acting in inappropriate manners.
I could fill a book if I started talking about that! We object to their principles and the way they treat us. To give just one example, in a meeting Ozias Bvute laughed at one of our most senior players and said, "You can go whenever you want to; you can go and play club cricket and take your mates with you if you want." This was his attitude to a player who had given many years of loyal service … quite disgusting. They don't seem to care about us as players, and they seem determined to run Zimbabwe cricket their way at all costs.
We didn't do it because of race, we did it because we want to put things right in Zimbabwe cricketAre there any other points you feel should be made by the players?
Have you had any genuine feedback from any black players
about how they feel about the situation?
Yes, we did. Three of them were going to side with us, but I think they got influenced by the powers that be and they turned around and reneged on their decision. Other than that, we haven't had any more contact with them.
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