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How cricket is at a crossroads in Zimbabwe

Poor infrastructure, absence of club cricket, lack of funding and corruption allegations have all affected the sport.

Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor leaves the field
Former captain Brendan Taylor was handed a three-year ban earlier this year for failing to report a match-fixing approach from a trip to India

Harare, Zimbabwe – Brendan Taylor, former Zimbabwe cricket captain, was handed a three-year ban earlier this year for failing to report a match-fixing approach from a trip to India.

He made the trip in October 2019 where he received $15,000 which he claimed he was blackmailed into accepting by his hosts using a video of him taking cocaine.

The suspension has brought back into the limelight the plight of players and the state of the game in Zimbabwe where cricket has a significant fanbase.

Taylor, who accepted his offence, said he had been under financial pressure because the players had not been paid for six months around the time of his India trip.

At that time, the country was suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for government interference in the affairs of the governing body, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), which came after a government-appointed body, that controls all sports in the country, fired top ZC officials on several charges, including financial mismanagement.

ZC, which is often in financial hardship but claims to have now completed payment of huge debts running into nearly $20m, has been forced to operate under controlled funding from the ICC.

The ZC suspension in 2019 therefore meant ICC funding was frozen and players had to bear the brunt of it.

The ICC suspension was eventually lifted later that year after the sacked officials were reinstated.

Players were then awarded a lump sum for the six months they were owed.

By early 2020, ZC announced it had reduced salaries by 30 percent, which was followed, until the present, by frequent delays in payments.

Players from Zimbabwe and South Africa
Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, the first time it missed the tournament since 1983.
ZC chief Tavengwa Mukuhlani defended the cuts when he revealed the move two years ago, saying it was a necessary measure to “make sacrifices today and survive tomorrow”.

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