THE Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) has axed veteran umpire Ian Robinson amid fears the union is “weeding out” all adversaries of the embattled Peter Chingoka board.
Robinson’s “retrenchment” comes hard on the heels of the controversial Ozias Bvute’s assumption of the ZCU managing director’s office in an acting capacity.
However Robinson, who was the union’s international cricket manager, has already challenged his severance package, which he says is peanuts after working for the ZCU for the past nine years.
“I was told to pack up my office last month, but I’ve already engaged my lawyer to negotiate for a package which I think is fair. This is my future we’re talking about,” Robinson told IndependentSport this week.
Although the ZCU says it has retrenched Robinson in a restructuring exercise that has only targeted the veteran umpire so far, insiders claim the union is moving to prune all those believed to have backed 15 rebelling senior white players.
The ZCU fired the 15 rebels following an acrimonious standoff over selection policy.
“I have no doubt the union is weeding out all those it thinks supported the senior players who revolted,” a source privy to the on-goings at the ZCU told this paper.
However Robinson, a veteran of 28 Tests, 90 one-day internationals and three World Cup contests, says he does not know why he was retired.
“There was no friction with anyone at the ZCU that I know of. I have been there since the first time a professional office was set up and joined the union as an employee in 1995,” Robinson said.
“They didn’t tell me whether I was performing poorly except telling me they were retrenching me since they were restructuring. But so far no one else has been made redundant.”
Robinson’s job – which involved organising Zimbabwe’s international matches both at home and away – has already been parcelled out to three other people working for the ZCU.
The ZCU has also told Robinson that it won’t second him to the International Cricket Council panel of umpires.
“They have told me they are not going to nominate me. That may mean my umpiring career is over,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, the ZCU is yet to replace former managing director Vince Hogg, who quit in June following the union’s row with the rebels.
Bvute, who is accused by the rebels of being a hardliner who prompted their revolt, is now acting as the ZCU’s managing director, sources say.
ZCU chairman Chingoka was not available for comment on the contentious issues.