Harare: A devastated Zimbabwe sports minister Kirsty Coventry on Friday denied government interference in cricket matters and insisted that the commission which disbanded Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) was a public body.
The ICC on Thursday suspended Zimbabwe Cricket for violating its constitution, a decision which evoked sympathy for the country’s affected cricketers.
Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) had suspended Zimbabwe Cricket board in June and formed an interim committee to manage cricket affairs in the country, prompting ICC to suspend ZC.
In a series of tweets, Coventry, a two-time Olympic gold medallist swimmer, said, ‘There has been no Government Interference @ICC !!!’
Coventry argued that good governance was required to run the sport in the country. ‘I am devastated that the @ICC ruling has affected our @ZimCricketv Players. There is need for good governance at ZC for the international success we all want to see. Any decisions towards that should never affect the Players.’
She insisted that it was not a government-inspired decision. ‘Minister of Sport elects SRC board (ICC do not see this as Gvt interference). SRC is not Government – they are a Public Body,’ read her tweet.
In her last post, Coventry said she will meet both men’s and women’s captains.
Former Zimbabwe pacer Henry Olonga seemed to be on a different page as he blamed the poor administration for mass exodus of talent from his country. He named Colin De Grandhomme, Gary Balance, Tom Curran, Sam Curran, David Pocock, who left and joined other international teams. De Grandhomme was part of World Cup finalist New Zealand’s squad while Tom Curran was in champions England’s squad though he did not play a game.
‘… Just a few Zimbos done well abroad. Why don’t we hold on to them.’
‘… I pose the question to highlight that the mass exodus of players has nothing to do with the lack of talent. More that we let them down by bad administration.’
While Olonga seemed to support the ICC decision, several other current and former players were left heartbroken and expressed their anguish and disappointment on social media.