Players' strike, Test ban to top ZCU agenda

Published: Friday, August 6, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare:Zimbabwe cricket chiefs hold their annual meeting in Harare on Friday with the four-month strike by contracted players and the country's future Test status topping the agenda.

The annual meeting of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) will also focus on its policy of integrating more blacks into the sport and the precarious financial situation in which it finds itself.

Zimbabwe cricket has been torn apart since the ZCU in April sacked then captain Heath Streak after the fast bowler, now at English County Warwickshire, accused the Union of making some team selections based on race rather than merit.

When his colleagues tried but failed to get Streak reinstated they went on strike in protest.

That led the ZCU to sack a total of 15 senior players, all white, a massive loss for a country with an already small playing base.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), at their last board meeting in June, suspended Zimbabwe's Tests for the rest of the year (against Pakistan and England) following heavy defeats by Sri Lanka and an already abandoned series against Australia.

However, their One-day Internationals remained intact and England are due to play five such games in Zimbabwe in November.

Although the ZCU's finances for 2003-2004 appear healthy enough with a surplus of around four million dollars, events since April have caused a significant reduction through the loss of TV rights income and the legal fees incurred by the ongoing stand-off with the sacked players.

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