ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) is in existence because of the players that give invaluable service to it and the nation, and at most times, for no pay, but just for the love of the game.
Since 2004, after Peter Chingoka and his board decided that a national team could not only be selected on merit, but also on the inclusion of black players that eventually led to Heath Streak quitting, the game has suffered a downturn.
And there is nothing on the ground that suggests that things will be better off in the near future unless the current archaic administration quits the game and paves way for fresh business- minded executives to turn the game around.
Players have quit the game and lately 24-year-old fast-bowler Kyle Jarvis has said he cannot continue giving it all for a board that does not appreciate its human resources.
Jarvis’s decision follows a strike by the team ahead of the Pakistan tour.
Pakistan, who arrived in the country yesterday evening, find a team that is low on morale, that does not have the fight on the field because the bigger fight is in the boardroom.
Surprisingly, new managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa, after more than a year in office, has only started warming up to the local media yet they were keen to give interviews to the international media at every given turn.
Mukondiwa replaced Ozias Bvute, who had tried, to no avail, to keep the game running by engaging various nations to tour Zimbabwe.
Chingoka has admitted that ZC’s loss is at about $4,2 million, but cannot confirm how much Zimbabwe gained from hosting the world’s richest cricketing nation, India.
He just says it’s a drop in the ocean because of loans from various banks they have. Out sister paper, the Zimbabwe Independent, insists ZC made $8 million from India.
And we are inclined to believe this figure judging by the amounts the players have been demanding for Tests, one-day internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 (T20) appearances. They know the association’s accounts better and could not have dreamt of $5 000 per Test, $3 000 per ODI, $1 500 per T20 and 10% of the World Cup income from nowhere.
Unfortunately, Chingoka believes that Prosper Utseya and Elton Chigumbura and where they have come from is enough for them to continue giving to the game in return for nothing. He says they are idols, whether being such puts food on the table is something else.
In fact, the thinking at ZC is that if you are not interested, leave and we will replace you. The wrong attitude.
So the idea by the players to form a union to represent their interests to the board is welcome. It’s about time that Chingoka and company realised the value of human resources and the people that keep them in their jobs. In turn, once the players and the board have made some form of agreements, we need to see better performances on the field.
ZC must also work around the clock to ensure that, at least, we play India, Australia, England and South Africa regularly. Sponsorship deals with Reebok, Econet, South African Airways, Old Mutual, Bata, CBZ Holdings, Stanbic Bank, Delta Beverages — through Coca-Cola and Castle — and Ten Sport must be re-established.