Zimb cricket chief sanguine about the future

Published: Monday, October 11, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Rawalpindi:Zimbabwe cricket chief Peter Chingoka said he hopes cricket will move forward in his country after a turmoil which led to the suspension of their Test status and a probe into allegations of racism.

"The most important thing for Zimbabwe cricket is for us to move forward, we have been at the wrong side of the rope since April this year as we were involved in matters that have taken prominence," Chingoka, chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), told AFP on Sunday.

"But finally I am glad that the inquiry on racism has been completed and the report has been presented to the International Cricket Council," he said.

The report will be discussed at an ICC executive board meeting in Lahore, Pakistan on October 16 and 17.

The sacking of national team captain Heath Streak, who alleged racism and other problems in Zimbabwe cricket, triggered the row in April this year.

Streak was backed by 14 other white players, which forced the ZCU to appoint young Tatenda Taibu to lead a team of largely untried youngsters. Poor results against Sri Lanka and Australia led to the suspension of their Test status until January 2005.

Taibu is leading Zimbabwe in a tri-series in Pakistan which also includes Sri Lanka.

"We are very clear and have tried to resolve the issues. Players and other people had put allegations about ZCU being racists but we are very clear that it's not the case and welcomed the inquiry with open minds," said Chingoka.

The inquiry was suspended last week after what one of the two members of the panel described as "the inflexible attitudes of both parties". The panel had to rely on written submissions from ZCU officials and rebel players.

"We have always said at all times since April that our doors are open for the players who want to come back. That position has remained the same," said the Zimbabwe cricket chief.

"Two dissenting players, Barney Rodgers and Gavin Ewing, have come back which proves we are genuine and sincere about that policy itself.

"No team can afford to lose the number of players that we lost but the blessing in disguise has been that players who would not have been in the team for another year or two have grabbed the chance."

Chingoka refused to comment on the decision by some England players to pull out of next month's one day international series in his country in protest at rights abuses.

"It's not my position to comment about English players or any other countries' players. What we hold is that there is an enviable separation of the two (sports and politics)," he said.

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