Zimbabwe Cricket: Statement on Future Ireland Tours

Unedited statement from Zimbabwe Cricket Managing Director Ozias Bvute on future Ireland tours

It is very unfortunate that recent media reports aim to portray Zimbabwe as unwilling to play against Ireland and insinuate that the reason is based on an attempt to ostracize them.  Zimbabwe has suffered greatly from the politics of exclusion and we would not wish that on any one. Sport is about participation and increasing the numbers that participate to allow for the sustainability of any given activity.

Cricket Ireland can confirm that when they toured here in September we voluntarily made them an offer to arrange fixtures against them and have since been in communication with their administrators. Our last correspondence proposed January 2012 as a possible date.

Zimbabwe has a full international and domestic calendar this season and we are not obliged to play against Ireland. Our offer to arrange playing opportunities with them is spearheaded by nothing less than the spirit of sportsmanship and inclusion. With the Australian and South African A sides, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Pakistan all having confirmed to tour Zimbabwe between June and November this year there is simply no slot available to accommodate them in 2011.

That being said, it must be noted that the latter half of the year has been deliberately blocked for our domestic cricket as we endeavor to ensure that all our national players are able to turn out for their local franchise teams and they cannot do this if they are called to national duty. Our long term strategy is to grow our domestic cricket and increase the spectatorship numbers for our local games. The people in Kwekwe, Mutare, Masvingo and Bulawayo will only support their franchises if they can expect to see players that they can identify. The greater the crowds the more likely the corporate world is to further support the game. It is our hope that in the future, with these efforts, we will have a domestic competition that is in itself financially viable and sustainable.

We remain a friend to all.