THE Zimbabwe Cricket board has confirmed its decision not to participate in next year’s ICC World20 tournament and the ICC centenary celebrations in England.
International reports this week said the ZC board had refused to endorse the pullout, prompting Chingoka to travel to the ICC headquarters in Dubai this week for talks with ICC president Dave Morgan.
But Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Ozias Bvute told IndependentSport on Wednesday that the board had endorsed the decision and Chingoka’s trip to Dubai was a follow-up mission.
“At the last ICC meeting in Dubai we agreed to reconvene to reiterate the position of the Zimbabwe Cricket board,” Bvute said.
“Subsequently the ZC board met and endorsed the decision and we have conveyed that to the ICC.”
Morgan also recently reaffirmed Zimbabwe’s position in a statement.
He said: “We are grateful to Zimbabwe Cricket for confirming the decision taken by its officials during annual conference week.
“This allows the ICC the opportunity to plan with certainty the ICC World Twenty20 2009, as well as giving Scotland, the side set to step up in Zimbabwe’s place, plenty of preparation time ahead of the tournament.”
As part of the compromise deal, Zimbabwe Cricket will benefit from the financial proceeds of the tournament without taking part.
The decision to withdraw from the two events was made at the ICC annual conference in Dubai last month by ZC chairman Peter Chingoka, his deputy Tavengwa Mukuhlani and Wilson Manase, the legal expert on the board.
Chingoka and his delegation told the ICC executive that Zimbabwe would not “gatecrash” the tournament so as not to force an awkward situation in the likely scenario that the British government refused him and the team entry to the country.
“We have decided to pull out in the larger interests of the game,” Chingoka said at the time.
“We have been informed that the British government may not grant visas to our players, and that situation may prevail during the Twenty20 World Cup. We don’t want to be gatecrashers, we will attend only those weddings to which we are invited.”
The British government has made it clear that it will not allow in the country a team representing Zimbabwe if President Robert Mugabe remains in power.
Chingoka’s trip to the ICC had raised speculation that his board had not endorsed the pullout under pressure from local stakeholders, aggrieved that they had not been consulted when the decision was made.
A change of goalposts on Zimbabwe’s part would have left the ICC in a tight situation as moving the tournament away from England to a neutral country in order to accommodate Zimbabwe would have almost been the last option.
By Enock Muchinjo