Wednesday, 31 July 2019


THE International Cricket Council’s new Elite Umpires and Referees Panel, and Sikanda Raza’s recruitment by the Amsterdam Knights for Euro T20 Slam, have sparked questions if the organisation’s sanctions are being targeted only on the black local cricketers and officials.

Yesterday, the ICC unveiled their new Elite Umpires and Referees Panel, and it features Zimbabwean match referee Andy Pycroft, a veteran who has officiated in 69 Tests, 175 One Day Internationals and 76 Twenty20 Internationals.

The 63-year-old Pycroft was a member of the pioneer’s group of Zimbabwean cricketers, who also included current interim chief executive Vince Hogg, who shocked the globe by beating Australia in an ICC World Cup match at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England, in 1983.

‘’The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named Michael Gough of England and Joel Wilson of the West Indies in the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires for the season 2019-20 following the annual review and selection process,’’ the ICC said in a media statement.

‘‘Gough and Wilson have been elevated from the Emirates ICC International Panel of Umpires by the selection panel consisting of ICC General Manager – Cricket, Geoff Allardice (Chairman), former player and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar, and match referees Ranjan Madugalle and David Boon.

‘’The other members of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires are Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, Chris Gaffaney, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Nigel Llong, Bruce Oxenford, Paul Reiffel and Rod Tucker.

‘’The Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees remains unchanged with David Boon, Chris Broad, Jeff Crowe, Ranjan Madugalle, Andy Pycroft, Richie Richardson and Javagal Srinath the seven officials on that list.’’

But, just days after barring Zimbabwean umpire, Langton Rusere, from officiating in the bilateral series between the Windies and India, because of the suspension they have imposed on Zimbabwe Cricket, the ICC’s silence in attaching any issues, relating to this country’s suspension, to Pycroft’s retention on their elite panel of match referees, is deafening.

‘’As it stands, the message from the ICC appears to be that all is well with Pycroft and, as and when he is needed, he can be assigned to be the match referee for any of the international cricket matches,’’ sources said.

‘’Maybe, one would have expected some qualification that, because of Zimbabwe suspension, Andy remains part of the elite panel but will not officiate at any matches, for the time being, that would have cleared the air in some way and the silence has got people talking.

‘’This, coming just a few days after what happened to Langton, is what makes it all difficult to understand whether all these sanctions are only targeted at the Zimbabwean black players and officials because they are the only ones who has, so far, suffered from them.’’

And, this conspiracy, or whatever it is, will also be fuelled by how all-rounder Raza also appears to have escaped the sanctions after he was drafted into the Amsterdam Knights team for the Euro T20 Slam set to start next month with his team taking on Rotterdam Rhinos.

Raza’s name still features on the official Amsterdam Knights squad. The ICC confirmed on their website that the Euro T20 Slam is a tournament they have sanctioned after they posted an article confirming the advisers of the tourney.
‘’A respected chairman of the International Cricket Council Cricket Committee, (Anil) Kumble has been joined by fellow former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, Pakistan’s legendary all-rounder Wasim Akram and Australian great Dean Jones as advisers for the inaugural ICC-approved tournament,’’ the ICC said.

The ICC will probably shrug off accusations that their sanctions are targeted on the black members of the domestic cricket community by responding that, after all, they have ordered that the suspension of an all-black leadership of Zimbabwe Cricket, elected at the last annual meeting of the organisation in Victoria Falls, should be nullified.

They will probably say they have been calling for Tavengwa Mukuhlani, the suspended ZC chairman, to be reinstated to his post which is now being occupied by Dave Ellman-Brown who was appointed by the Sports and Recreation Commission.

The other key member of the suspended ZC leadership, acting managing director, Givemore Mangongo, has also been replaced by Vince Hogg and the ICC could possibly argue that, given they have been insisting on their reinstatement, any accusations their sanctions are targeted at the black community in domestic cricket are not true. But, it’s also true that, so far, only the black players and officials have

been barred from their international assignments by the ICC since the suspension of Zimbabwe Cricket.

Lady Chevrons captain Mary-Anne Musonda and three of her teammates – Anesu Mushagwe, Tasmeen Granger and Sharne Mayers – are all black cricketers and were barred from taking part in the Women’s Global Development Squad in England to feature in a series of T20 games.“As I’m sure you are aware, the ICC Board has taken the decision to suspend Zimbabwe Cricket with immediate effect and place a restriction on the Zimbabwe national team participating in ICC events,” ’’ICC Women’s Cricket Manager Holly Colvin wrote in a letter to the four players and their coach.

“Unfortunately this (the suspension) also extends to their participation in the Women’s Global Development Squad program, and so it is with great regret that I write to inform you that Adam as Head Coach and the four Zimbabwe players will no longer be able to take part in the UK edition of the tour next week,’’

The all-black Lady Chevrons are also set to miss the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier in Scotland from from 31 August to 7 September 2019. Herald


Post a comment