The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index


ICC's Zimbabwe racism hearing scrapped

September 30, 2004, 15:03

An International Cricket Council (ICC) hearing into player allegations of
racism against the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) was scrapped almost before
it got underway in Harare today.

Steven Majiedt, a South African high court judge on the ICC panel, blamed
"the inflexible attitudes of both parties" and told reporters written
submissions would be used instead to compile a report. The allegations
followed the departure of Heath Streak as Zimbabwe captain after he had
questioned the composition of the national selection panel. His replacement
by Tatenda Taibu led to a walkout by 15 white players.

"It is a sad day, but it is not the end. They have been some positive
strides," Streak said today. "This process is part of a bigger process to
highlight what has gone wrong, and to make sure that the future is one in
which people are comfortable irrespective of who they are, where they come
from and what colour they are."

In-camera hearing
The in-camera hearing, scheduled to last three days, began yesterday but was
adjourned shortly after the first witness testified. The panel had ruled in
favour of an application by lawyer Chris Venturas, representing the players,
that three administrators should not be present to hear testimony.

Venturas argued that witnesses would be intimidated by the presence of Ozias
Bvute and Max Ebrahim, the ZCU board members, and Tavengwa Mkuhlani, the
chairperson of the provincial Mashonaland Cricket Association since some of
the allegations involved them.

The ICC panel, comprising Majiedt and Goolam Vahanvati, India's solicitor
general, granted the application but the ZCU refused to accept the decision.
The two sides had been expected to try to find a compromise overnight but
failed to meet. The affair was sparked by Streak's departure and the
players' rebellion. They demanded his reinstatement, a new selection panel
and a ZCU climb-down.

The ZCU, who advocate a policy of positive discrimination in selection to
reflect the make-up of Zimbabwe's population, responded by selecting an
inexperienced team which lost 10 consecutive matches before the ICC
suspended their test programme until the end of the year. Venturas said the
panel, selected by the sport's world governing body, was scheduled to
release its findings on October 15. Asked what the future held for Zimbabwe
cricket, he added: "Very much in the air. We were very, very confident that
our position would be vindicated by this process. We are very unsure now.
But we have confidence in the panel, and I believe the panel has enough
evidence on hand to make some sort of finding." - Reuters
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sporting Life

The ICC inquiry into allegations of racism against the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union has slammed the conduct of the lawyer representing the players at the
centre of the dispute.

The hearing in Harare had to be abandoned today after the ZCU refused to
comply with a ruling from the panel to exclude three of its members from the
courtroom when evidence was being heard from certain players.

The players' lawyer Chris Venturas had argued the presence of ZCU
administrators Ozias Bvute and Max Ebrahim, and Mashonaland Cricket
Association chairman Tavengwa Mkuhlani would intimidate witnesses, and they
would not testify in the presence of the three men.

The next stage of the saga therefore looks likely to come when the inquiry
panel reports to the next ICC executive board meeting in mid-October, a
month before England's cricketers are scheduled to fly to Namibia to prepare
for their controversial limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe.

The two-man panel of India's Solicitor General, Goolam Vahanvati, and South
African judge Steven Majied reluctantly acceded to the request to exclude
ZCU members after earlier agreeing to bar the press from proceedings.

But after being forced to abandon the oral submissions, Vahanvati attacked
Venturas for making unreasonable demands.

"The panel and ICC reluctantly acceded to this demand, despite ZCU's
legitimate objections and concerns," said Vahanvati.

"At the pre-trial hearing on September 28 2004, we requested Mr Venturas to
reconsider his position. He refused to do so.

"It is therefore clear who is responsible for these hearings being closed
and the press being excluded."

Judge Majied said both parties' unwillingness to compromise was a reflection
on the state of Zimbabwe cricket.

"This outcome has been imposed upon us by the unfortunate, recalcitrant and
inflexible positions adopted by both parties whose attitude and stands
before us reflect what has brought about these problems for Zimbabwe
cricket," he said.

Both parties will now only be able to give written submissions in addition
to those they have already provided.

Vahanvati and Judge Majied will produce a report from these in time for the
ICC meeting on October 16-17 in Pakistan.

The ICC have backed the decision of the panel.

"The words of the judges speak for us. They are quite critical of the
parties and the way they have behaved," a spokesman said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Dozens of Zimbabwe Women Marchers Charged Under Security Laws
Peta Thornycroft
30 Sep 2004, 16:29 UTC

A protest march across Zimbabwe ended prematurely for 42 women, who were
arrested and charged with disturbing the peace under the country's tough
security laws. The women were on a 450-kilometer march to protest proposed
laws that would ban human rights organizations.
The 42 women were arrested Tuesday near Chegutu, 100 kilometers west of

They were not asked to plead to the charges and were represented in the
Chegutu Magistrates Court by a lawyer.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said the women had claimed they were
walking to raise money for charity. He said when it became clear from their
banners and slogans that this was not the case, they were arrested. He said
police permission is needed for protest marches.

The women were with a group that left Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, last
week to walk to 450 kilometers north to the capital, Harare.

Another eight women who completed the journey were arrested in Harare
Wednesday and charged under the same law.

They arrived in the capital singing and laughing, but without their
placards, and few people realized who they were.

The women belong to an organization called Women of Zimbabwe Arise, WOZA,
which has seen about 300 of its members arrested at various demonstrations
since it was formed two years ago.

The women said they were on a peace and justice protest march. In a news
release issued before they began their long, hot journey last week, they
said they objected to a new law due to go to parliament soon, which seeks to
ban all non-governmental organizations involved in human rights activities.

According to Zimbabwe's laws, the eight still in prison in Harare have to be
charged or released on Friday.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe dragging the region down, says report

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 30 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - Southern African's economic performance
is being dragged down by Zimbabwe's negative growth rate, the UN Economic
Commission for Africa (ECA) said in a report this week.

"Despite the projected increase in growth in Angola (8.9 percent),
Mozambique (8 percent), Botswana (5.5 percent) and Mauritius (5.4 percent),
Southern Africa is expected to lag behind the other subregions, with real
GDP growth of 3.6 percent in 2004, held back by contraction in Zimbabwe
(-5.5 percent)," the ECA said.

However, Neuma Grobbelaar, head of the Business in Africa project at the
South African Institute of International Affairs, said it "was dangerous" to
hold a single country responsible for the entire region's performance.

She cited a recent business survey conducted for the Association of Southern
African Development Community's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which
listed other reasons hindering growth, including volatility of exchange
rates across the region; lack of infrastructure; crime and corruption;
security of investment; a rigid regulatory set-up and the need for an
integrated tax regime.

Drought in Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland had also played a role in slowing
growth, Grobbelaar noted.

"We are talking about very small economies with tremendous pressure on
social spending - they have to prioritise between having to spend on
HIV/AIDS or developing their road network, port facilities to attract
investment, [etc] - which will help their economy grow and create jobs," she

Zimbabwe, once the second largest economy in the region, has become the
fastest shrinking on the continent.

The International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook, also released this
week, noted that Zimbabwe's economy was in "sharp decline, with the
disorderly land reform reducing agricultural production and concerns about
governance discouraging investment, promoting capital flight and

However, the IMF's projection for Zimbabwe indicated a positive growth rate
of 1.8 percent in 2005.

The IMF report also forecast rocketing growth rates for Angola - 11.2
percent in 2004 - and an estimated 15.5 percent in 2005, "mainly reflecting
increasing oil output".

Growth in South Africa was expected to rise to 2.5 percent in 2004, reaching
a little over three percent in 2005.

The IMF called on South Africa to remove "rigidities in the labour market
and provide skills training for unemployed workers" to reduce its high
official unemployment rate of 28 percent, which analysts estimate is
actually 40 percent.

Remarking on the slow growth rate in South Africa, Grobbelaar said it had
"done everything right, but now it has to reconsider the interest rate and
the strengthening of the rand to create an environment conducive for the
creation of jobs".

The IMF report noted other positive growth areas in Southern Africa. It said
Mauritius' "superior economic performance and financial stability have been
underpinned by a tradition of good governance, including respect for the law
and property rights, a culture of transparency and participatory politics,
and an implicit social contract among government, firms and labour."

Strong legal rights had also fostered development in Namibia, while
Botswana's transparent institutional arrangements and a rule-based approach
to fiscal policy had helped its economy to grow, the IMF said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News online edition

      How to avoid violence during the elections

      Date:1-Oct, 2004

      HOW to avoid being a victim of violence during the forthcoming
elections may seem, to some people, to include not being anywhere near a
polling station.

      That surely must be the spineless option. The agents of violence
recognise that such people can be easily influenced by even the vaguest
suggestion of preparations for police or military activity before the

      So, when the Police Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, a self-confessed
member of Zanu PF, warns of police action against any violent
electioneering, the faint-hearted voter is immediately persuaded it is safer
to stay at home than to go and vote.

      When a training centre in Ntabazinduna is suddenly turned into a
police training centre, again the faint-hearted have visions of hundreds of
Five Brigade copycats being churned out to unleash violence during the
elections - as the real Five Brigade did during Gukurahundi.

      The effect is to frighten the voter who is likely to vote against Zanu

      Statistically, it has been established that a low voter turnout
favours Zanu PF rather than the opposition.

      Yet the simplest method of combating potential violence during an
election is for voters to turn out in their millions. The organisers of the
violence will be so overwhelmed they may not be able to know where to start.

      It may then fall upon the architects of the violence to devise other
methods of preventing the people from voting. In the 2002 presidential
election, they decided to prematurely close the polling stations in Harare,
for instance.

      This tactic was so manifestly illegal it must have been one of the
reasons why Zimbabwe was suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth.

      Zanu PF might say: Who needs the Commonwealth? But this is looking no
further than their political noses.

      Very soon, they may have to ask the questions: Who needs the African
Union? Who needs the United Nations?

      Before the Commonwealth suspension, not many people in Zanu PF
believed that the multiracial grouping would dare act so decisively against
Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe was so shocked many people believe
rationality deserted him temporarily.

      His faint hope that there would be a massive walk-out of African and
Asian members after he had pulled out Zimbabwe was dashed.

      The chances of the same happening in the AU and the UN cannot be
dismissed lightly. At the end of the day, each country thinks first of its
own enlightened self-interests.

      The loud applause Mugabe received after his recent address at the UN
may not translate into anything more than a shrug of nonchalance if he
decides the UN is not doing his bidding.

      If the next elections are as manifestly unfair as the last two were,
Mugabe may discover just how few real friends he has around the world. -

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Catholic News

In Canada, Zimbabwean archbishop denounces President Mugabe

By Art Babych
Catholic News Service

OTTAWA (CNS) -- He has received numerous death threats, had his phones
tapped and his sermons monitored by government agents, but Archbishop Pius
Ncube of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, refuses to back away from his criticisms of the
country's president, Robert Mugabe.

"I refuse to be silent," Archbishop Ncube, 58, told ambassadors, high
commissioners, members of Parliament and interfaith leaders on Parliament
Hill Sept. 28.

"My heart bleeds -- I suffer a lot -- when I see the lot of the common man
in Zimbabwe," he said.

Archbishop Ncube was in Canada as part of an international tour to speak out
against the regime of Mugabe, 80, who has held power in Zimbabwe since 1979.

"I'm annoyed and upset when someone uses their power to trample on the
disadvantaged, on the poor," Archbishop Ncube said.

Portrayed in the government-controlled Zimbabwean press as gay, a rapist and
HIV-infected, Archbishop Ncube, trained by Jesuits in the former Rhodesia,
is undeterred.

"I'm not one that's given to fighting and controversy," he said. "I love

Until this year, Mugabe had portrayed the archbishop as mad and as a prelate
who did not have the support of his fellow clerics. But after Archbishop
Ncube went abroad in May to complain about problems in Zimbabwe -- including
an unemployment rate of 70 percent, an inflation rate of 400 percent and the
AIDS epidemic -- Mugabe called him an "unholy man" and accused him of the
"satanic" betrayal of his own country.

The archbishop's current international campaign to muster opposition to the
Mugabe regime has included briefings with U.S. Secretary of State Colin
Powell and Britain's Prince Charles.

In Ottawa, as he has elsewhere, Archbishop Ncube criticized Zimbabwean
Catholic bishops and other church leaders who support the Mugabe regime amid
"mounting evidence of human rights abuses."

The archbishop said some Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe have received gifts
from the government, such as Mercedes-Benz cars, and that he was offered a
farm. The gifts are expected to bring silence from the clerics, he said.

"When you're being fed, you're not expected to talk," the archbishop said.

During a July visit to London, Archbishop Ncube said church leaders inside
and outside Zimbabwe were "betraying Jesus Christ" by failing to denounce
the political violence, starvation and oppression perpetrated by the Mugabe

"By keeping quiet they are playing into the hands of Mugabe. There is
suffering in Zimbabwe, so much so I estimate personally that if it were not
for the World Food Program, a good half-million Zimbabweans would have
perished from hunger," Archbishop Ncube told a London press conference.

In New York last October, Archbishop Ncube, who was being honored by the
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, called Mugabe and his associates
"totally corrupt."

He said the president started "quite well" with "sort of socialistic views."
But the president "got a shock" a few years ago when a new constitution he
drafted to give himself more power was rejected in a referendum, and he
began taking drastic measures to shore up his rule, Archbishop Ncube said.

One was the black takeover of white farms that led to the loss of
agricultural production and the loss of jobs by 300,000 black Zimbabweans
who were farmworkers, he said.

Mugabe claimed he wanted to help impoverished blacks by giving them land,
but that was "never the intention," the archbishop said. Instead, he said,
the land was given to Mugabe associates, who now hold it as speculators and
in some cases sell off irrigation equipment. "They are not growing

Back to the Top
Back to Index

      published:Thu 30-Sep-2004

A direct attack on bodies that still hold to account Robert Mugabe's regime

Members of civil society in Zimbabwe on Wednesday told a meeting in London
that proposals to curb the activities of Non-Governmental Organisations,
including a ban on foreign funding, represented a direct attack on bodies
that still hold to account Robert Mugabe's regime. The NGO Bill is expected
to be rushed through Parliament next month, the third of a trilogy of
repressive laws, following draconian curbs on the press and on freedom to

The meeting, at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, heard that the NGOs
had several possible survival strategies under a bill which requires them to
register, and be liable for refusal, with a body dominated by
representatives nominated by the authorities. They needed to find ways of
protecting their assets, including cars and computers, from being seized by
the police, and ensuring the welfare of their staff. An estimated 20,000
people are employed by NGOs in Zimbabwe and faced the threat of unemployment
in an economy where, as one participant, put it "there are no jobs." Other
possibilities included "restructuring" their operations and funding sources,
and possibly directing some operations from neighbouring countries. This has
already happened in the case of The Daily News, the only independently owned
daily newspaper which was shut down by the regime under the press law, and
which now operates on online edition from South Africa.

The NGO Bill appears targeted particularly at the organisations which keep
account of the long records of violence perpetrated by the police and other
state agents; organisers of a grass roots campaign for a new constitution;
and professional bodies such as doctors and lawyers who provide access to
medical treatment or legal help to victims of brutality and harassment. It
could, for example, end access to medical treatment, legal assistance,
including making compensation claims. A common tactic by the police is to
hide people, i.e. tell lawyers searching for them at local police stations
that they are not there.

The bill, if enacted, would cost Zimbabwe heavily in foreign exchange, but
that seems unlikely to bother Mugabe for whom the proposed legislation is
part of a determined strategy to hang on to power. Tourism has plummeted and
some resorts and hotels survive on workshops and congresses held by NGOs. In
turn, some hotels are now being infiltrated by security police spies, The
Standard, and independent weekly, reported this week. Participants at the
meeting agreed, among other things, to send protests of the Mauritian Prime
Minister, the new head of the SADC, South African President Thabo Mbeki, the
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth (from which Zimbabwe withdrew rather
than face expulsion following presidential elections widely regarded as
rigged), and the African Union.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Times (UK), 30 September

Players face familiar dilemma as Zimbabwe return looms

By Owen Slot, Chief Sports Reporter

It is far too late and far too obvious to point out that the England cricket
team's tour to Zimbabwe in November comes with a distinct sense of déjà vu.
In his autobiography, Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, describes
the farcical Zimbabwe chapter of last year's World Cup as "without doubt the
most traumatic time of my life" and confirms that his squad harboured
"overwhelmingly moral" objections to playing in Harare. Yet, here we are, 20
months on, and the administrators are intent on taking them there again.
Following the lead of Hussain, however, we should not expect Michael Vaughan
to acquiesce happily. It was through gritted teeth that he allowed his name
to go forward as captain of the touring party when it was announced on
Tuesday, but he knows that the next two months are peppered with loopholes
and get-out clauses. The squad may have been finalised, but the politicking
is far from over. Right up until the moment when Vaughan is strapped into a
seat bound for Harare, this saga has the makings of 2003 revisited.

In Harare, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) is finally being forced to
recognise the concept of accountability. An inquiry, called by the ICC,
began yesterday, having been set up to investigate claims by Heath Streak
and 14 disenfranchised white players that the ZCU espoused a racially
motivated selection policy. The inquiry is being heard by Goolam Vahanvati,
the Solicitor-General of India, and Steven Majiedt, a South African High
Court judge. The evidence against the ZCU is said to be extremely strong,
yet there is evidence against the players, too. The three-day hearing ends
tomorrow and Vahanvati and Majiedt will make their recommendations to the
ICC in time for its executive board meeting, which starts in Lahore on
October 16. Brendan McClements, the ICC spokesman, confirmed that there are
"no limitations" to the action that the world governing body can take. If
racism is proven, the question is whether it is systemic or merely
accountable to a few individuals. The ICC could levy the ultimate forfeit,
suspending Zimbabwe from all international cricket - the country is already
temporarily excluded from the Test arena - or alternatively, given the
voting history of the ICC executive, the issue could be fudged.

But even in the case of a fudge, the hearing could still play into Vaughan's
hands, because far more reactionary than the ICC is Fica, the international
players' association. If the inquiry hands Fica judicial confirmation that
racism cost the 15 Zimbabwe rebels their jobs, it will almost certainly
recommend to all its members that they should not play there. And it is
highly likely that Vaughan is aware of this. We could then return to that
"most traumatic time", when different bodies adopt opposing standpoints with
the players left stranded in the middle. Sounds familiar? And we haven't
even got to the issue of safety and security yet. Here, there is further
hope for Vaughan and his men. The security visit by the ECB to Zimbabwe
leaves in the middle of next month. Experience shows that information can be
cooked up to deliver pretty much any message desired, as previous safety
checks on Harare would suggest. However, the departure date is of
considerable significance because it has been postponed until October 17 -
the day after Vahanvati and Majiedt's inquiry report is received by the ICC.
Which suggests that the ECB may be pinning its hopes on the chance of the
inquiry digging it out of its own hole first.

Meanwhile, in Harare, it would appear that the ZCU is finally coming to
terms with its possible fate and busily shifting its position. So unpopular
has it become that it is even losing the faith of its own natural
constituency, the black cricketers. A group called The Black Cricket
Pioneers Association has renamed itself - in order to avoid any slurs of
racial preference - the Zimbabwean Cricket Pioneers Association (ZCPA) and
is challenging the ZCU on the very argument with which the ZCU justifies its
policies. "We don't have direction or facilities and there is a lot of
corruption," Wellington Marowa, a leading member, claimed, "but, above all,
there is a lack of effort in developing cricket in the high-density suburbs.
The ZCU talk about bringing the game to the people, but our position is that
we don't see any development." The ZCPA is busy lobbying in the provinces,
whose members get a say in the make-up of the ZCU board. However, the signs
are that the ZCU is realigning itself before it is forced to. After a
stand-off of some six months, the ZCU has started addressing a new proposal
for a democratisation process. This perhaps stinks of too little, too late,
but it may also be extremely cute. The ZCU is convinced that the non-white
majority of the ICC is loath to vote against it. So, therefore, were the
inquiry to find against it, if the ZCU could then be in a position to say,
"No problem, we have a reform package of our own ready to run", it might be
sufficient to dissuade the ICC from drastic measures.

One other priority for the ZCU is to get some of the 15 white players back.
They are now an increasingly disparate crew; some almost definitely have
quit international cricket and others have started to get their teeth into
other livelihoods. The younger ones, one suspects, will be wondering if
their international careers are gone for good and, were the ZCU to make
small concessions, may be persuaded back in to bat. And, once the ZCU has
some of the 15 rebels back, the Fica position is immeasurably weakened.
Which would leave Vaughan and his touring colleagues in familiar territory,
back exactly where we were with Hussain at the helm 20 months ago
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Zimbabwe fuel importers arrested, more threatened

September 30, 2004, 10:13

At least two Zimbabwean businessmen have been arrested, while scores more
face "de-registration" after a police crackdown on bogus fuel imports.

July Moyo, Zimbabwe's energy minister, has said that as many as 24 fuel
importers could be closed down after failing to prove they imported either
petrol or diesel into the country. Under strict foreign currency laws, fuel
importers must prove to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that they did in fact
use scarce foreign currency allocations to import fuel.

"We've given them a deadline and if they fail to give us the proof we need,
we will de-register them and the police will take up the investigations,"
said Moyo.

Zimbabwe has faced lengthy fuel shortages for four years during the
country's worst ever political and economic crisis. - Sapa

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe tour is wrong, says new MCC chief
By Warwick Jordan, Evening Standard
30 September 2004
Tom Graveney goes in to bat tomorrow as the new president of Marylebone
Cricket Club claiming if he was still playing for England he would find it
difficult to justify touring Zimbabwe next month on either cricket or moral

Graveney, 77, and in love with the game as much as he ever was, has always
spoken out on the side of justice and is too old to stop now.

"From last February there has been an awful lot of Test cricket and the same
blokes have been doing the job," he said. "They could do with a rest before
going to South Africa, where they will twice be playing backto-back Tests,
which is really tough.

"That's one side of it. Then there's Mugabe and his regime. You can't
condone what is going on. I'm not sure it is morally right to send a team.
It's terrible what happened out there. It was a wonderful country when I
went there.

"What I find difficult to understand is why, now Zimbabwe have had their
Test status taken away, they can still play one-day internationals. I would
have picked an A side."

Graveney is about to begin a yearlong innings as the figurehead of cricket's
most prestigious club. In doing so, this archetype professional not only
joins a long list of " amateurs" and luminaries to fill the role but, in a
sense, becomes an unlikely member of the Lord's establishment.

Not many old sweats have filled the post and the invitation from his
predecessor Charles Fry (grandson of CB Fry) was hardly expected.

"I had a whisper about it back in February," Graveney said. "My son rang me
up and said there was talk about me going to be president of MCC. I told
him, 'Don't take the Mickey out of your father'. When the invitation
actually arrived I was very surprised, tremendously surprised.

"For every person in the game it is the best thing that could happen. It's a
great honour to be president of the greatest club in the world."

In his playing days, Graveney was a batsman of poise and elegance. His
distinguished career spanned from the post-war ration book years to beyond
the Swinging Sixties and the arrival of knockout games and the Sunday
League, taking in England's dominance of the 1950s and a few skirmishes with
the authorities a long the way. "I started playing in 1948 and, apart from
when I ended up running a squash club in Southend for about 12 months, I've
been involved or on the fringes of cricket ever since," he said. "I suppose
this honour could be the final recognition of my years in the game."

However, for all his 122 first-class centuries, 79 Test appearances and a
later career in television, Graveney was more often seen by the authorities
as a figure of controversy.

He left his first county, Gloucestershire, under a cloud after discovering
they had sacked him as captain. The county then reneged on an agreement to
let him play for Worcestershire straight away and, following a ruling by the
MCC no less, he spent most of 1961 playing for his new county's 2nd XI and
in the Birmingham League.

Eight years later, he was up before the beak again after fulfilling a
longstanding arrangement, worth £1,000, by playing in a benefit match at
Luton on the Sunday rest day of the First Test against the West Indies.

Graveney was less than a week away from his 42nd birthday at the time and
had not expected to be chosen. Despite scoring 75 in his last Test innings,
the resultant reprimand and three-match ban by the Test and County Cricket
Board ended his international career.

"I've never been the sort of person who argues with people very much, only
when I think its fair," Graveney said. "The Test match thing was
unfortunate. I actually told the chairman of selectors (former England
team-mate Alec Bedser) that if I couldn't play in the benefit match he
should leave me out of the Test side. I was listening to the radio on the
Sunday before the Test and heard I was in the team.

"So I thought that's okay then, but it wasn't until the Test got under way
that I was told I wasn't allowed to play at Luton. But it was too late. I
had already committed myself. I was quite old by then, and I wasn't going to
be playing Test cricket for much longer anyhow, but it was a sour way to
end. It should never have happened."

Graveney was talking as he surveyedthe scene at Lord's, where work has begun
on an £8.2million renovation of the pavilion.

"Grassroots cricket is the major objective of MCC now," he said. "Bringing
the game to youngsters and to the schools. Promoting the game by sending
teams all over the world. One of my predecessors, Tim Rice, even took a team
to Estonia.

"When I first began, MCC ran everything and the picture from outside was
that the game was in the hands of fuddy-duddies. But everything is done
properly now. The finger is on the button."

If Graveney, whose nephew David is chairman of selectors, has one big wish
for his year in office it is for England to give Australia a drubbing in
next summer's Ashes series.

"It's a good England side," he said. "We've got heroes now. We've suddenly
produced Harmison, Flintoff, Trescothick and Vaughan. We've got people the
kids can identify with."

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Botham blasts Zimbabwe tour

      Ian Botham has urged the government to instruct the England cricket
team to stay away from Zimbabwe this winter.
      The former all-rounder believes the one-day series should be scrapped,
in protest at Robert Mugabe's regime.

      "As long as it is run by a barbaric regime who sponsor genocide and
starvation, we shouldn't be going near the place," Botham told The Mirror.

      England are due to arrive in Harare on 24 November and leave on 6
December after five one-day internationals.

      Botham added: "I have nothing but sympathy for Michael Vaughan and his

      "Just as there were innocent pawns in other people's political games
at the World Cup 19 months ago, so they have been hung out to dry again.

      "There are some government ministers and cricket administrators whose
appeasement of an appalling regime is sickening and they should hang their
heads in shame.

      "I haven't met a single person yet who things England should be going
to Zimbabwe this winter."

      The England and Wales Cricket Board stand to be fined heavily by the
International Cricket Council should they again stay away from Zimbabwe.

      But Government intervention would most likely see such punishment

Back to the Top
Back to Index