Let’s not shoot ourselves in the foot once again

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WITH NO end in sight to the current impasse between the players and the board, I have to ask the question; are we not shooting ourselves in the foot again?

The players are sticking to their guns, while it is understandable and I will be the first to sympathise with their plight; there is the small issue of the big picture.

What is this big picture? Is there light at the end of the tunnel, or is there even a tunnel?

It is no secret, for, whatever, reasons that I will not go into Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has many detractors that would like to see them go down for the count. There have been a lot of resolutions in the recent past about two-tier Test systems and lower ranked teams having to qualify for money spinning ICC tournaments.

As much as they would like to sugar quote, it basically will mean less income, if any, for the smaller countries and especially Zimbabwe. This brings me to the point of the bigger picture. ZC is heavily depended on the ICC tournaments payout as television rights have dried up due to the poor showing by the team.

The good thing about this is being a full Test member you get a significant piece of the pie no matter your contribution to the ingredients. The last tourney Zimbabwe was involved in was an embarrassment to say the least. The shorter the game the more chances of the smaller teams causing an upset, but Zimbabwe was nowhere near in any of the games. The truth of the matter is going by what happens on the field of play — we are becoming a circus, if we are not there already.

The longer you last in an ICC tourney the bigger your slice. With the Twenty20 (T20) World Cup upon us the players should be practising hard to try and cause a few upsets, but instead are fighting over salaries. If anyone recalls the 1999 World Cup in England when Zimbabwe made the super sixes, many of the players bought houses from their rich takings in the tournament. If the players could somehow pull of a surprise or two and make it to the next round, they are guaranteed more money as individuals.

Zimbabwe Cricket is guaranteed more money to service their huge debts. However, the players are giving the detractors more bullets to shoot them down with and eventually we will fail to qualify for the World Cup and get demoted from the test arena and that will be the end of that. The players working hard in schools to one day represent the nation at Test level will fail to realise their dreams.

It was a serious struggle for Zimbabwe to gain Test status and it will be a serious struggle to keep it. The players must look at the bigger picture and ask themselves if they will be able to one day tell their children that they can’t play Test cricket for the country because Zimbabwe lost their Test status when they went on strike over unpaid salaries. I am not in anywhere defending the board and the last I heard there was an ICC team carrying out a forensic audit.

If the audit unearths some wrong doing then the relevant people must definitely be held accountable for their actions. It is the duty of everyone to guard jealously the test status, but the most important people are those eleven players that cross the boundary rope and represent their country. On the subject of the World Cup, On The Crease had an article on hard-hitting former MidWest Rhinos all rounder Solomon Mire. Mire put another feather in his cap when he was called up to play for the Renegades in the lucrative Big Bash in Australia. Unfortunately he was run out for one, but it is an honour to make it to such an elite platform for a young man who has not yet represented his country.

Maybe the selectors may want to draft Mire into the provisional side and since he is not currently on the ZC payroll he may give his all at the World Cup. I am not entirely sure if the policy that controversially excluded Vusi Sibanda from the New Zealand tour is still in place.

On The Crease is happy to report there is finally some action in the nets. Could this be a sign that the players may take to the field this week?

I spoke to a couple of them who pointed out that it was a voluntary session and they were also in the dark about the way forward.

Whatever happens I hope happens soon as the plane is nose-diving fast. Thank you for all your e-mails last week. It seems there’s a lot of excitement about the Australia tour to South Africa next month.

Next week we will look at this series in detail and yes, I can’t wait as well. I was also reminded of the A-Z challenge that was featured on this column. This week we look at the letter “F”. Fifer — when a bowler has taken five wickets in an innings.