Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

A challenge to international cricket

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There’s a lot of discussion in cyber space at the moment about the impending Australian cricket tour to Zimbabwe. I would certainly support a boycott if the Australian cricket team intends coming to Zimbabwe to play ball as usual.

Cricket in ZimbabweHowever there are other options for them to consider, especially in the light of the fact that the US$2 million fine will be going into the coffers of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union. Normally one would think that the money would be put to good use, like in the development of facilities and coaching of youngsters like this playing dusty township cricket. But a more likely scenario is that the money will be sucked up by the “chefs” of Zimbabwe cricket for their own misuse. And clearly we don’t want that to happen.

It must be acknowledged that there will be negative publicity associated with Australia pulling out of a tour to Zimbabwe. There will be racist inferences and the African brotherhood will suggest that the West continues to demonise Mugabe whilst closing its eyes to the abuse of power in so-called first world countries. Australians might not care about this, but it’s important to review what is the best overall strategy rather than fall back on the knee-jerk call for a boycott.

So then, what to do?

If the Australian cricket team is considering a boycott, then they have agreed that politics and sport can and do mix. So perhaps it would be more worthwhile for the Australian cricket team to tour Zimbabwe: and Do Good whilst they are here rather than their usual cricket, huntin’ and fishin’ fun.

Maybe individual players can meet with activists who have been abused as a show of support and respect? Or they can visit Harare’s government hospitals and check out the conditions that Zimbabweans seeking medical treatment have to experience. Or they can deliver a petition to the Minister of Sport & Culture asking for the rights of Zimbabweans to be respected.

If the Australian team start setting up these public functions now the Zimbabwe government will impose prohibitive and untenable restrictions on them during their tour which will cause the ICC some confusion over whether to fine them if they decide not to tour Zimbabwe.

Or the Mugabe regime will ban them and will thus be viewed as the activators of an authoritarian action.

Or when they’re here and active off the cricket field, they could be deported.

Which might mean the ICC having to recompense the Australian cricket team instead.

9 comments to “A challenge to international cricket”

  1. Comment by Pamwechete:

    Funny enough I have never heard you and your lot advocating for a boycott by the football teams and other internationl sporting disciplines that are carried out in Zimbabwe. All this noise about the govt is nonsense, last time the Aussies came for the world cup I enjoyed myself and surprisingly the govt did not make any noise about it.

    Of all the sporting teams that come to Zim, cricketers are given a police escort from the hotel room to the ground and back.

    Further more I have never heard you calling for the foreign companies that are reaping our wealth.

    These Zim cricketers should be let to play and earn their living.

  2. Comment by Gary Storm:

    Good post, and I`ve posted this around the traps in Aus, and sent an email to Downer as well….


    Hi, regarding the Zimbabwe problem, I`d like the board members and players to read this, from a Zimbabwean perspective:

    In my opinion, Australia SHOULD go to Zimbabwe. While there, I think they should all wear black armbands (as a couple of the Zimbabwean cricketers did, to signify ‘Death of Democracy’). I also believe the team should engage in worthwhile causes while in Zimbabwe (outlined in the blog link above), and also let the Zimbabwean team win. This will highlight in the strongest possible way how Australia feel about the Mugabe regime.

    If the Australian team are asked to leave Zimbabwe, then it is possible that YOU will receive money from the ICC.

    If you refuse to play in Zimbabwe, then the $2mill for the Zimbabwean Cricket ppl will go into government and officials bank accounts.

    So play, but make a strong statement while you are there. Just ask the Zimbabwean bloggers.

  3. Comment by …My heart’s in Accra » links for 2007-05-11:

    [...] Kubatana.net speaks out from Zimbabwe ? Blog Archive ? A challenge to international cricket Bev Clark suggests that the Australian cricket team visit Zimbabwe, but make a point of meeting with activists and drawing attention to the current political situation in Zim, rather than a boycott which, oddly, could benefit some wealthy Zimbabweans (tags: activism protest cricket zimbabwe australia) [...]

  4. Comment by Global Voices Online » Outrage as Zimbabwe assumes helm of key global organization:

    [...] Frustrated that the Australian cricket team has succumbed to political pressure and cancelled their September trip to Zimbabwe Bev at Kubatana contemplates the good that could have come out of the tour: Australians might not care about this, but it’s important to review what is the best overall strategy rather than fall back on the knee-jerk call for a boycott. [...]

  5. Comment by Sreeram:


    We have a cricket website, called http://www.holdingwilley.com. We basically look at gathering the people’s perspectives on various issues from around the world, rather than an ‘official’ point of view.

    Your point of view is interesting, and it would be great if i could use this post on our website, with your byline, of course. Not only would it be a useful addition to the content on our site, it would also raise awareness about the point you are making.

    Let me know if you are ok with the idea, and if you are, please also send me a line or two giving whatever information you would like published about yourself , so I can add that to the byline.

  6. Comment by Rumbidzai Musoni:

    Frankly, cricket is a white sport, or at best an upper class sport in Zimbabwe it has enriched a lot of people trading on the parallel market. It does not identify with the average person so while noise will be made on the international and political areana, tell me who apart from the cricketers will miss Australia. Cricketers in Zimbabwe have done very little to extend the sport to the average Zimbabwean. Much of what has been done has been very half hearted most of it fairly recently in the wake of political implications of cricketing countries boycotting. When England was beaten in Zimbabwe, it was beaten by white chicken farmers playing white people. So frankly very few people will miss it The black cricket teams that have made itt- anaTakashinga have done so zvenharo. Give us Morrocco or Cameroon to boycott a soccer match then anyone who wants to make an impact on Zimbabwean landscape will have done so.

  7. Comment by Pamwechete:

    John Cook on this blog [http://www.holdingwilley.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=214&Itemid=9]
    actually reminded me about China.

    I want to see how many countries will boycott China for the alledged human rights abuses

  8. Comment by sokari:

    Reviewed in Last Week’s Pambazuka News

  9. Comment by Liz:

    Hi all,

    I have to debate the following topic for an Australian debate team- just wondering if anyone wants to give me any points seeing as all of you guys are clued up on all of this.

    THe topic is That Australia should boycott the cricket tour of Zimbabwe!