Mass exodus on the cards

HARARE - The ongoing problems that continue to plague Zimbabwe Cricket are not too dissimilar to the 10 plagues that the Egyptians experienced when the stubborn Pharaoh refused to release the Israelites from bondage.

If you really put your mind to it, you will realise that it is coming up to 10 years of constant heartache, misery and disappointment, with precious little to smile about.

This was more than likely how the sons and daughters of Israel felt when they were under the york of the Egyptians, before they were eventually set free.

Some might say that 10 years equate to 10 plagues, and that this year may just be the turnaround of what has been a continuous decline of good health in the sport.

Then there are those who feel that this year may very well see the total collapse of cricket in the country, as player after player has either decided to turn his back on the game, and pursue business interests, or ply their trade abroad.

It goes without saying that those who do believe in God will be praying that despite the rapidly deteriorating situation, cricket will still be afloat, at the end of the year.

The reality of the situation is that if some sort of miracle doesn't happen, cricket will be in real danger of becoming a Saturday afternoon hit and giggle social event.

The standards at all levels are continuing to fall by the wayside, and the alarming observation is that as soon as a bit of talent comes through the ranks, it is greedily snapped up by the likes of England, New Zealand and to a much lesser extent South Africa.

Besides the former senior players who walked out after a terrible dispute 10 years ago, the country still continued to take a merciless battering as players were understandably lured away by the promise of playing for another country with considerable financial awards, as well as a sound cricketing infrastructure.

None of the above can be offered to any player or indeed average employer who works for Zimbabwe cricket at present, and, unless some sort of miracle does take place, the immediate outlook is as grim as the weather most of Europe is currently experiencing.

There would have been a few muted cheers when Charles Coventry's name was announced in the squad of 30 which will hopefully be in training before it gets trimmed down to 15, but those cheers quickly turned to moans of disappointment when Coventry himself announced that he was not available due to the financial strife ZC find themselves in.

In a radio station interview on Monday evening, convener of selectors Givemore Makoni then stated that Coventry had made himself available, before pulling out and returning to Dubai where he is currently playing.

But was this outburst by Makoni not a desperate shot in the dark, as he possibly needed to vent his frustration at the hopelessness of the situation, and in so doing tarnishing the name of a player?

Or did Coventry take a page out of former Zimbabwean all-rounder Sean Ervine's book by saying one thing, and then doing another thing all together?

The answer will probably never be known, and while fans are still in the process of dusting themselves off after the false hope they were given, they received another jolting blow when the news broke that wicket keeper-batsman Regis Chakabva joined the band of leavers when he opted to have a stint in Australia playing club cricket.

Is this the start of a mass exodus of players?

Sadly, this will no longer come as any real surprise if players did indeed decide to abandon all hopes of playing for our beloved Zimbabwe, though one lives in eternal hope that the fears will be proven wrong, and that intervention from either the ICC or a greater authority will prevent cricket from coming to a complete end in our Zimbabwe.

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