Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, son of Zimbabwe’s former coach Geoff, was asked during their arrival whether the timing was right to come to Zimbabwe now. "I'm sorry I am not the right person to ask that question," Marsh responded.
The Australian government instructed its cricket team not to tour Zimbabwe because of Mugabe, describing him as a dictator in the mid-2000s.
The game of cricket in Zimbabwe suffered a backlash from the major powers, including England, who have for a long time not toured here.
Mugabe is Zimbabwe Cricket’s (ZC) patron and his political stance on attacking the British and other Western powers have over the years seen the cancer of his politics spreading to the cricket boardroom and pitches, leaving the ordinary fans in Zimbabwe starved of some quality cricket.
A full strength Australian side led by captain Michael Clarke are in Zimbabwe for a triangular series involving South Africa and the hosts. Weeks before their departure for Harare, their tour was castigated in most parts of the Australian media with Fox Sports describing their decision as a joke.
“Zimbabwe is the basket case of world cricket and Australia will be part of the sad joke when it tours there in August,” it said.
“The Zimbabwe people love their cricket like any other country and they want to see some interesting cricket, so I really hope we can put up some entertaining cricket throughout the series and entertain the people that come out to watch,” said Clarke.
Australia has not played an international game in Zimbabwe for 10 years but they have previously sent a second-string "A" team with sources believing the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to be keen to tour the country after the next elections in 2018.
The new ZC chairman, Wilson Manase, who took over from Peter Chingoka who resigned after 22years at the helm, was recently quoted in the media confessing they need the ECB on board for the game to survive.
“We are running this sport for the nation and if our president is wanted by the people who are we to question that?” he said.
“What we need to do is to engage the England and Wales Cricket Board. This is how these players earn their money, when they play we get TV rights which translates to their earnings. The moment we don’t get those because we are banished from playing other nations we have a problem.”
Fri 29 Aug 3rd ODI: Zimbabwe v South Africa
Sun 31 Aug 4th ODI: Zimbabwe v Australia
Tue 2 Sept 5th ODI: South Africa v Australia
Thu 4 Sept 6th ODI: Zimbabwe v South Africa
Sat 6 Sept FinalPost published in: Cricket