Aussie cricket team expresses unease

HARARE - The Australia cricket team is closely monitoring the security situation in Zimbabwe following a bomb blast that rocked President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rally in Bulawayo last Saturday.

Australia, who last toured here in 2014, together with Pakistan, are scheduled to tour Zimbabwe for a triangular Twenty20 series starting on Sunday, which will feature seven matches.

Two people were killed while at least 47 others were left with various degrees of injures after what looked like a grenade blast detonated near the stage at a Zanu PF rally at White City Stadium.

Matches during the T20 series are scheduled to be held both in Harare and Bulawayo.

Following the bomb blast which occurred just over a month before harmonised elections, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued a travel warning to its citizens.

“DFAT is warning Australians that ‘instances of conflict cannot be ruled out in the lead up to, during and soon after the election’ and ‘the security situation could deteriorate quickly’. Australian visitors are currently advised to ‘exercise a high degree of caution in Zimbabwe’,” DFAT said.

However, speaking to reporters in England yesterday where they are preparing for the upcoming tour, Australia’s T20 captain Aaron Finch, told reporters that they expect to board the plane and make the trip to Zimbabwe despite the recent assassination attempt on Mnangagwa.

“We were briefed on it last night by Frank (Dimasi) our security guy and it’s all systems go,” Finch told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“With DFAT, the Australian Government and Cricket Australia (CA), they’ll make sure that all the due diligence is done to make sure it is safe.

“But at this stage, I haven’t heard any unease from the players in regards to going.”

A CA spokesperson also echoed Finch’s sentiments.

“The safety and security of our players and support staff is paramount and as always, we will take advice from the relevant Australian authorities.”

The Baggy Greens have a history of cancelling tours to Zimbabwe as they have done so in 2007 and 2017.

While Australia have expressed their thoughts on the current security situation in Zimbabwe, Pakistan — on the other hand — are very much likely to arrive as expected today even if a civil war had ignited.

The Asians are forever grateful to Zimbabwe after ZC sanctioned a tour of Pakistan in 2015 which was the first by a Test-playing nation since the deadly bus attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009.

Although the triangular series is not part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) itinerary, the Dubai-based organisation is also closely following the development in Zimbabwe.

The ICC will be ultimately responsible for all the umpires and match officials, who will be in charge of the action on the pitch.

Apart from the security concerns, ZC is also seized with another off-field matter as a number of senior players gave the board an ultimatum to be paid their outstanding salaries, match fees and bonuses dating back to last year.

The likes of Brendan Taylor, Sakindar Raza, Craig Ervine and Graeme Cremer were all left out of the squad for the T20 series triggering a war of words on social media.

Taylor took to Twitter to slam the ZC interim convenor of selectors Walter Chawaguta for “talking s***” after the former coach suggested the players had voluntary excused themselves from the series.

Zimbabwe’s first black Test captain Tatenda Taibu also slammed ZC for jettisoning the senior players out of the squad after they voiced their concerns regarding remuneration.


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.