Friday, 27 June 2008

It's just not cricket

One day cricket scarcely qualifies for the name, but even that doesn't excuse Paul Collingwood's decision to confirm the appeal for 'run out'. It should not even have required time for thought, and his subsequent apology (welcome as that is) doesn't alter the perception that sportsmanship has long since been replaced by gamesmanship.

The big cricket story though rests with our Government, and the question of what to do about the Zimbabwe team. We know that the home series has already been cancelled by the ECB in response to a government request but there is still the thorny issue of the 20/20 World Cup, due to be held here later next year. That is organised by the ICC and since Zimbabwe are currently a member of the ICC they are entitled to attend - pretty much on the same basis as Robert Mugabe attending that UN conference in Italy a few weeks ago.

Those who follow cricket know that the ICC will shortly be holding a meeting where there is a good chance that Zimbabwe's membership will be suspended, thus solving the problem. But why wait? It would be far more satisfactory if the Government showed a bit of leadership rather than continuing to evade responsibility in the hope that others will get it out of a hole. Ahead of the ICC meeting they should state plainly that they are not prepared to admit sporting teams from Zimbabwe, and that their position is not negotiable. If that means that the ICC relocate or cancel the 20/20 World Cup, so be it.

It is quite conceivable that the next Government will face the same dilemma in 2012; how much better if our position is clear now.

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