Cash-strapped Zim Cricket in a quandary Set up crucial meeting with India this week

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PHILLIMON MHLANGA

Cash-strapped cricket governing body, the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), is scrambling to secure funding for the proposed senior men’s team tour of India in March this year, Business Times can reveal.

Well-placed sources told this newspaper that the quandary has forced ZC chairman, Tavengwa Mukuhlani and acting managing director, Gift Makoni, to travel to the Asian country for a crucial meeting with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Initial plans were for the Chevrons to tour India. Due to financial constraints, Mukuhlani and Makoni will this week try to sweet talk the Indian cricket board to come to Harare instead, a move which will benefit the cash-strapped ZC financially. Makoni told this publication that the cricket union was in a quandary, revealing that he and Mukuhlani were leaving this week to Mumbai, to negotiate with the Board of Control for Cricket in Indian.

“We haven’t finalised, we are still in talks with India,” Makoni said on Tuesday.

“We are now looking at various options. The initial plan was to tour India. But now, to host them [India] here is one of the options we are going to discuss with them this week. It could be possible [to have India here in March]. It’s one of the options we are going to discuss with them (India). Nothing has been agreed between them and us at the moment.”

But, well-placed sources this week said that ZC was scrambling for funding.

Makoni, however, declined to discuss the funding issue.

“I am not prepared to discuss that. But, what I can tell you is that we are going to India this week this trip is specifically in connection with such discussions. So, I can’t discuss that now because we are still negotiating,” Makoni said.

“Our budget depends on what we will agree on with India. If we are going there it depends on our itinerary. It also depends on whether we will agree on test match or one day game. Our initial proposal was to play one days, but this might change depending on what we will agree on, may be in the next few weeks. They might agree to come to Zimbabwe, who knows. So, this week we are in a crucial meeting with India. We hope to reach closure when we go there this week.”

India made history last week when they won their first Test away in Australia in 71 years. The 3-1 series win saw India becoming the first Asian cricket side to win a Test series in Australia.

Over the year, ZC, has been struggling to meet its obligations, including payments to staff and players, due to financial constraints.

However, the world’s cricket governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) intervened in a bid to save the game in Zimbabwe. ICC bailed out ZC with financial support to pay off their dues and introduced austerity measures which the local body is following dutifully.

Last year, the Chevrons, had a poor season. They were bundled out of the World Cup after being ousted in the qualifiers, the Chevrons hosted.

Zimbabwe beat Afghanistan by two runs, held to a tie by Scotland and lost to minnows, the United Arab Emirates by three runs at Harare Sports Club, ending their World Cup dreams. Craig Ervine needed to hit the last ball of the game for six to beat UAE, but he failed, ending the Chevrons’ World Cup dreams. After the Chevron’s failure to qualify for the World Cup in England set for this year, there was a massive shake-up in the team structures. The entire coaching staff, led by Heath Streak, as well as Zimbabwe cricket’s chief selector, Tatenda Taibu was sacked. Taibu, who made history as the youngest Test captain in the history of Zimbabwe cricket, is now playing cricket in Sri Lanka. Also fired was the captain of the side, Graeme Cremer, who lost the captaincy