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Flower thumbs up for Zim

ANDY Flower, the England coach, has commended the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)  for reopening cricketing ties with Zimbabwe.

The MCC is a very influential club, being formerly the governing body of cricket in England and across the world.

Flower’s own international career was ended in 2003 when he wore a black armband at a World Cup match in Harare to protest against the Robert Mugabe regime.

He has subsequently rebuilt his life in Britain while Zimbabwe have spent five years in the cricketing wilderness after losing Test status.

Last year their cricketers reluctantly withdrew from the World Twenty20 in England after it was made clear they would not get visas.

Zimbabwe Cricket has also been hit by a string of allegations of financial irregularities.

But the return to the fold of several former leading cricketers and the appointment of the former England batsman and Surrey coach Alan Butcher as head coach has led Zimbabwe to begin lobbying for a return of Test status.

ZC is also said to have cleaned up its act under the guidance of officials from Cricket South Africa, and the MCC is considering sending a team to tour there later this year, the first visit by an England side since 2004.

Flower, whose brother Grant will join Butcher’s staff after the English season, told Telegraph Sport: “There are some strong parallels in what has happened in the cricket scene and what has happened in the country.

“The Mugabe regime cannot last forever and already Morgan Tsvangirai and David Coltart (minister of sport) have a foot in the door in government, though I know it’s a tricky situation. At least their influence means there is constitutional debate and things have started to move in the right direction again on both those fronts.

“I think they are doing their best to resurrect cricket after a period of mismanagement and I’m glad there is this energetic push to get Zim back on the international stage. There are some very good people getting involved again.”— The Telegraph.

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