Thursday, April 15, 2004

Zimbabwe: white players refuse to play on national cricket team

Disclaimer -- I don't get cricket.

This is what I understand of the story ... The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) has a policy of selecting up to five black/coloured players whenever possible.

The Zim team's captain, Heath Streak, complained about some of the people on the selection committee, saying that they weren't qualified enough to select the squad members and that some were discriminating against white players. Then something happens and Streak is no longer team captain. Streak says he was pushed out and ZCU claims he quit. Things escalate when 12 other players, all white, boycott training etc., demanding that Streak be reinstated as team captain.

The ZCU offered a compromise earlier today ... they offered a new selection panel and a method of dealing with grievances, but would not agree to reinstate Streak as captain. That last bit must have been a big deal cause Streak and the 12 others aren't playing. The ZCU is sending another squad, a relatively inexperienced squad with two white players, for next week's one-day international against Sri Lanka.

Streak and the 12 other players released an open letter today.
We must stress that we wholeheartedly support the Development Objectives of the ZCU and the need to take the Game to the majority of Zimbabweans. However in our view, there has been so much interference that deserving Players of all races have been excluded from both the National Team and the Zimbabwe A Team solely because of their race or region from where they come. ... We should also stress that the minimum qualifications [to be on the selection committee] proposed by the players are not discriminatory and indeed it would in our view be easy for a selection panel to be established with a majority of qualified black Zimbabweans.