LEGENDARY cricketer Andy Flower has for the first time admitted guilt over the squabbles that left the game of cricket in Zimbabwe on the brink of collapse.
The 39-year-old Flower said the major contentious issue was Zimbabwe Cr
icket (ZC)’s imposition of black players on the almost all-white national team.
“There was a lot of blame on both sides,” Flower was quoted as saying in an interview with The Wisden Cricketer magazine this week.
“(Cricket) was a sport run by the whites and not enough black cricketers got exposure. But when Peter Chingoka (ZC chairman) got involved, the way he and his fellow administrators tried to impose selection, it got the hackles up of the whites.”
Although Flower went into exile in February 2003 after — together with fast bowler Henry Olonga — staging a black armband protest to mourn the “death of democracy” in Zimbabwe, he said tensions between white players and ZC had already started heating up. In April 2004, 15 white players walked out on national duty over ZC’s selection policy and the sacking of Heath Streak as captain.
Flower said the fallout could have been avoided had the Chingoka-led ZC and the white players handled the selection row in a mature manner.
“The white players and administrators — and I include myself — should have been more willing to communicate openly and attempt a serious and mature integration of more black cricketers,” Flower said.
“But the black administrators could have communicated a hell of a lot better and more honestly. It’s really sad that we didn’t find a better compromise and I take responsibility for that. But the administrators should take more of the responsibility as they were older and more experienced.” — Staff Writer.