Cremer doesn't regret quitting cricket

HARARE - Andy Waller, the current Zimbabwe cricket coach, made his Test debut aged 37.

Waller played his first Test against England in Bulawayo in December 1996, having made his ODI debut nine years back aged 28 in an away series against New Zealand at Hyderabad.

In sharp contrast to Waller, at 27, leg-spinner Graeme Cremer had played 11 Tests, 43 ODIs and nine Twenty20s. Sadly, Cremer is now retired after making his Test and ODI debut in 2005 and 2009 respectively.

There is no doubt Waller would have relished having Cremer in the squad for as long as it takes. The reality, however, for now, looks a bit far-fetched as Cremer is determined he made the right decision to walk away from the game.

Cremer, now married to Air Zimbabwe pilot and former Miss World Bikini second runner-up, Merna Moore, is a proud father of one, Zac, who is approaching his second birthday.

The former Midwest Rhinos spinner, who could also carry a bat, says he took a back seat from all cricket activities last September over monetary issues.

While his journey into the professional world of golf, where he has found solace, is gradually growing in lips and bounds, he still harbours intentions to return to cricket one day. Unfortunately and sadly for the country, “it won’t be in Zimbabwe.”

“I'm happy, I had a long period playing cricket at a high level, I feel it was cut a bit short, but happy all the same, If I play again it won’t be in Zim,” Cremer tells the Daily News.

“The options do however, vary. My wife is a pilot so I also have to consider her career. So I’m not sure at the moment, because I know she is happy with Air Zimbabwe.”

Without giving specific incidences that led him to consider retiring and joining a growing list of young players who cut short their careers such as Tatenda Taibu, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Greg Lamb, Kyle Jarvis, Cremer says:

“It was just the way Zim Cricket was being run, the players always came last in the pecking order and it just killed my passion for the game,” he says.

“It was issue after issue that just built up over time. Ja, there have always been money issues, I was not owed much by Zim Cricket and I did get what they owed...but it did not come close to what the players have lost in the long run.”

Cremer, who was born in Harare and educated at Prince Edward, believes the entrance into international cricket at relatively tender ages by the current crop of players left them ill-equipped to stand for themselves.

“We have lost out since we all started in 2005, Zimbabwe Cricket knew were young and just out of school, so they took advantage of that. From salaries to match fees to anything to do with money for players, it was never done to suit the players,” adds Cremer.

Cremer says the players at times felt ZC was using a divide and rule strategy.

“When it comes to money issues, the players separated a bit, we were not sure if some players were being looked after. But on the field, we were generally a unit.

“I always knew I wanted to play for my country, it probably came from watching the likes of Andy Flower at (Harare) Sports Club and obviously watching (legendary Australia leg-spinner) Shane Warne growing up,” he says.

“I loved every minute being on the field playing for my country, and my teammates where like brothers to me. I really enjoyed being a part of such a team and such passionate fans.”

If, however, the management changes at ZC, Cremer says he will reconsider his premature retirement.

“Basically you need people that know the game and that are passionate about the game, someone that does not see it as a business opportunity,” he says.

“I would definitely consider going back to Zimbabwe Cricket if things changed.

“The game needs people like (Tatenda) Taibu back. He was always a great guy to be around; he has lot of knowledge about the game, and was definitely a shock when we heard of his retirement.”

Being a father has also made Cremer concentrate more on life’s more pressing matters,

“I’m loving it very much, Zac is very special, and it’s such a good feeling having that responsibility, couldn’t be happier.”