Was this a damp squib?

HARARE - When Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) spread the word that a press conference was going to be held on Tuesday, pulses quickened and questions were already forming on the tongues of those who would be attending.

‘Aha!’, they all thought, rubbing their hands together in anticipation.

The series against Bangladesh was the most disastrous in the entire history of cricket in this country, and now heads will roll!

The atmosphere was pushed to fever-pitch when ZC chairman Wilson Manase arrived considerably later than the announced time of 14:30 but the expectations and hope rapidly fizzled out into nothing more than hot and foul smelling air as the chairman tried desperately to woo his audience into forgetting the ongoing shambles by telling them that the ECB and India have agreed to play against Zimbabwe in the not-too-distant future.

Other than the finances that may trickle into the ZC coffers, do we really care who we will be playing in the future?

Very few people actually care.

Firstly, when those who attended started Tweeting about Zimbabwe and England resuming bilateral tours, I immediately got in touch with one of England's leading commentators and journalists to celebrate the fact that he and I would be able to catch up over a glass or two of red wine.

My hope and excitement was dashed to pieces when he started off his reply by asking me how much of the red wine I had already had to drink.

So unless this latest development is top secret, and why would it have to be top secret, it seems as if we are being led down the garden path.

The best attitude to have on this particular matter is the wait and see attitude, but the truth is that even if England had a full tour that included three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals, nothing will change, other than Zimbabwe slipping further down the international rankings.

What was very noticeable in Tuesday's conference was the dodging and avoiding of key and indeed very serious matters that need urgent attention and correction.

The first being Zimbabwe's dismal performance against Bangladesh. Other than an apology to the nation, the topic was once again swept under the carpet.

For now at least, it seems that ZC are happy to still continue with the two playground bully boys, Givemore Makoni and Stephen Mangongo, who clearly have the knack to provoke every living soul around them.

A leader, be it a captain, coach, chairman of a sporting body, or company, needs to earn the respect of those who work with or under him.

In this case, no respect has been earned, only loathing and quite possibly fear as well, which begs the question; was Manase sincere in his apology to the nation?

He has given us assurances that reports will be submitted as soon as the players and coaching staff have arrived in the country, but what will actually be done about the situation?

If the entire team were to stand together as one, and voice their displeasure and insist on change, would Manase and his support staff consider it?  Would they even take the request seriously?

Once again, time will tell.

Then there is the pressing issue of the players and their salaries.

It would appear as if there was a slight crossing of wires in the players’ enclosure, as one very reliable source stated off the record that salaries had been paid, Manase claimed that salaries had been paid.

One of the few bright points to emerge from the conference was the news that former captain and former convener of selectors Alistair Campbell would more than likely be joining the administration side of the game, one article even suggest that Campbell could be enrolled as managing director.

This would be interesting to say the least, given the fact that Campbell and coach Mangongo have already had a bit of a jousting session at the completion of the shameful, disgraceful tour of Bangladesh.

Campbell stated that it is of paramount importance for a former Test player to be coaching the national team, and he also listed several reasons as to why a former player should be in charge.

Mangongo then started off by saying that everyone is entitled to an opinion of their own, but then fuelled the flames by saying that even when Zimbabwe employed the services of Heath Streak and Grant Flower as bowling and batting coaches respectively, Zimbabwe lost to the likes of Hong Kong in a T20 warm-up match.

Yes, we did have the misfortune of losing to Hong Kong, but there is one point of correction: neither Streak, nor Grant Flower were part of the coaching set-up when that happened.

Both Streak and Flower were left out of the team that went to the West Indies last February, supposedly due to traveling costs, yet most of us knew that their days were well and truly numbered in this country.

Flower had a role to play against Bangladesh in April and May last year, but after that, he pretty much disappeared off the radar as he was desperately seeking employment elsewhere.

Flower got a job as Pakistan's batting coach, and Streak as Bangladesh's bowling coach, and the rest as we know, is history.

It goes without saying that the majority of the journalists left the conference scratching their heads, and there is a general consensus that the conference was a move to try and distract us from the ongoing mess that seems to be a long way from been resolved.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.