By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe women’s cricket team have suffered a big blow as they prepare for the T20 World Cup global qualifier in Scotland in August after being forced to pull out of their tour of Ireland at the last minute due to the recent suspension of the Tavengwa Mukuhlani-led Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).
Zimbabwe cricket has been in turmoil, with the International Cricket Council threatening sever sanctions over government interference after the replacement of the national cricket board by the SRC.
And while the Zimbabwe national men’s cricket team have arrived in Ireland for a series of one-day and T20 games, the women’s which was due to leave the country this weekend team will no longer travel for the tour.
Cricket Ireland revealed on Friday that the Zimbabwe women’s team will not travel after ICC suspended their funding of the local cricket governing body in response to the stand-off that has rocked the local game.
“We received correspondence late this afternoon from Zimbabwe Cricket in which we were informed that due to a funding issue, Zimbabwe Cricket will not be sending their women’s team to Ireland,” said Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom in a statement.
“With the team due to arrive on Sunday, there is clearly no time to find an alternate and, after urgent consultation with the ICC to seek clarification, we regret to confirm the women’s tour has been cancelled. This will not, however, impact upon the men’s tour which will proceed as scheduled.
“Notwithstanding the significant and costly considerations for Cricket Ireland – including venue hire and management, infrastructure hire, training days, catering, hotel, accommodation and promotional costs – we are all desperately sorry for the players, fans and the many staff and volunteers from across the cricket community who had supported planning for this tour and who planned to be at these matches.
“We are additionally conscious that this series was an important piece of our preparations for the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier and we will look into alternative arrangements so our senior women’s team will not be completely disadvantaged by these disappointing circumstances.”
Zimbabwe women were due to take on their Irish counterparts in three one-day internationals at Oak Hill in Wicklow from July 3rd to 7th before three T20 internationals that were to be played as part of double-headers with the men’s T20 series at Stormont in Belfast and Bready in Co Tyrone.
Meanwhile the world’s cricket governing body ICC is expected is expected to decide Zimbabwe’s fate when its board meets on July 18.
The intervention by the SRC, which is a regulatory body under the purview of the national sports ministry, has put Zimbabwe Cricket and the ICC on a collision course.
ICC policy dictates that member boards must manage their affairs without interference from government or public bodies.
If the ICC board deem that Zimbabwe Cricket has acted in contravention of its obligations, then the consequences could be as serious as the suspension of its membership and funding.
With the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates only four months away, it is incumbent upon Zimbabwe Cricket to retain not only the support of the ICC, but also of their players, if they are to avoid missing successive events.