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."
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
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
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
INQUIRY BLAMES PLAYERS' LAWYER FOR HARARE IMPASSE 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
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
"At the pre-trial hearing on September 28 2004, we requested
Mr Venturas to reconsider his position. He refused to do so.
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.
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
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
Dozens of Zimbabwe Women Marchers Charged Under Security Laws Peta
Thornycroft Harare 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 Harare.
They were not asked to plead
to the charges and were represented in the Chegutu Magistrates Court by a
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.
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
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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
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
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
"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 explained.
Zimbabwe, once the second largest economy in
the region, has become the fastest shrinking on the continent.
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
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
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."
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.
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 PF.
has been established that a low voter turnout favours Zanu PF rather than
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
Very soon, they may have to ask the questions: Who
needs the African Union? Who needs the United Nations?
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.
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. - Editorial
In Canada, Zimbabwean archbishop denounces President
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
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
"I'm annoyed and upset when someone uses their power to
trample on the disadvantaged, on the poor," Archbishop Ncube
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 peace."
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
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 regime.
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
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 anything."
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 protest.
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
Players face familiar dilemma as
Zimbabwe return looms
By Owen Slot, Chief Sports
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
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.
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
At least two Zimbabwean businessmen have been arrested,
while scores more face "de-registration" after a police crackdown on bogus
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
"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
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 grounds.
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.
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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
England are due to arrive in Harare on 24 November and
leave on 6 December after five one-day internationals.
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
The England and Wales Cricket Board stand to be fined
heavily by the International Cricket Council should they again stay away
But Government intervention would most likely see
such punishment scrapped.