Zimbabwe cricket was saved from major disaster

Published: Saturday, August 7, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare :The large travelling expenses of Zimbabwe cricket officials were justified as the cost of the networking needed to offset a conspiracy to disrupt the game, a top official said.

"Had it not been for the networking process that has taken place during the course of the last few months, we would not have achieved the successes which have kept us alive," Ahmed Ebrahim, vice-chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), told the annual meeting in Harare.

"This is despite devious, undercover activities that have been going on by some people behind the scenes designed to undermine the very fabric and structure of Test cricket here that people like (ZCU chairman) Peter Chingoka and others have struggled to keep afloat.

"We were told that cricket would be finished in this country by September or October. But we were able to make sure we will still have Test cricket in place next year."

Ebrahim was responding to criticism of the Union's board of directors' expenses and fees, which reached around 80,000 dollars in the last financial year.

Chairman Peter Chingoka explained the high costs away to trips to meetings with the International Cricket Council (ICC) and with executives of other Test countries, in London, Dubai and elsewhere, in a bid to save the future of Test cricket for Zimbabwe.

There was no debate at all about the ongoing stand-off between the ZCU and senior players after the sacking of Heath Streak in April and the dismissal of 14 other players after they went on strike demanding his reinstatement.

Only one comment was made on the Union-player dispute from the floor. Chingoka was requested that the ZCU re-examine its hardline approach to the question "because it is sad to see Zimbabwe cricket in its present state, its Test matches replaced by 'A' games."

The speaker asked ZCU to "free itself from acrimony." Chingoka said the remarks were noted.

Nine of the 12 directors retained their posts on the ZCU board. Their three replacements maintained the racial balance of four white, four black and four Asian.

President Robert Mugabe was re-elected patron for a tenth year.

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