13 May 2007

Australia pull out of Zimbabwe tour

John Howard has told Cricket Australia that they are not to go to Zimbabwe and the ICC aren't going to fine Cricket Australia so sense has prevailed. But it still would have been far better if the Aussie government could have met Cricket Australia and then issue a joint statement.

As an Englishman I find it completely shaming that the UK goverment didn't show some balls when dealing with the same issue. But they aren't alone. The ICC are similarly gutless, and Malcolm Speed proved as much by saying, ""it's not the role of the ICC to make political judgments ... that's for politicians. The ICC is a sporting organisation and our role is to ensure that the game of cricket is played wherever possible."

If you wish to stand behind that facade like a coward, Mr Speed, then you may do so, but you couldn't be more wrong. By stopping all the normal things that happen in a vaguely democratic society, until Magabe either resigns or is overthrown in some way, you make it clear to Mugabe and all his supporters that life will simply deteriorate for everyone in Zimbabwe until there is a change of leader and outlook. Every person who is in charge of decisions that relate to Zimbabwe functioning "normally" makes their own moral judgement. Sadly I think Mr Speed has tried to avoid the issue rather than being strong.

It seems that Mr Speed has an equally weak counterpart in the Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland, who seems to be talking about Australia playing Zimbabwe at a neutral venue. It can only be assumed that he needs to stay in with the ICC given his comments: "We are obliged to do what we can to help Zimbabwe cricketers and we could help them by playing somewhere else." But this is an exceptional circumstance, so you should be argueing vehemently against playing Zimbabwe and resigning if the ICC in any way coerce Cricket Australia to make the Australian team to play Zimbabwe, Mr Southerland. Either that, or struggle to look yourself in the mirror.

Enough said....for now.

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