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Outrage in Zimbabwe over cricketers’ plight,minister seeks ICC,BCCI help

The report,‘Zimbabwe board has no money to pay for players’ meals in hotel’,published on Thursday

Written by Devendra Pandey | Bulawayo |
August 3, 2013 2:58:59 am

Zimbabwe’s outgoing sports minister David Coltart has created a furore by publicising a report in The Indian Express about the sorry state of cricket in the country caused by a lack of funds,with some fans lambasting him for what they said was not doing anything to deal with the problem while in power.

The report,‘Zimbabwe board has no money to pay for players’ meals in hotel’,published on Thursday,was tweeted by Coltart and it was also posted on his Facebook page,drawing a flood of response. The opinions were polarised,with some empathising with their country’s cricketers and others criticising and questioning Coltart about his role.

Coltart,who earlier this week lost elections to Zimbabwe’s parliament after contesting from the Bulawayo East constituency,told The Indian Express Friday that he was pained to read about the plight of the cricketers.

“As Zimbabweans,we all are hurt with the way things are with our team. The reports of players finding it tough to get a meal in the hotel has been shocking for us and I feel it’s high time the ICC,with help from the Indian board,intervenes and helps us out,” he said.

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“The Zimbabwe board has been running heavy debt for long and it’s not that it couldn’t have been handled better. The poor administration has also resulted in us losing serious talent like Gary Ballance and Sean Ervine,who moved away from here.”

On Facebook though,some voices blamed the minister for the mess.

“So what have you done about it Minister of Cricket?” asked one respondent. “Who is he complaining to? If promoters in Zimbabwe can get money to host a music concert then surely you can raise money for the team,” wrote another.

One comment even mocked his political agenda. “You and Zanu-PF are just the same David,” it said referring to President Robert Mugabe’s party. Coltart belongs to the Movement for Democratic Change party,which is opposed to Zanu-PF.

“Poor old Zim is on the street corner with its begging bowl out and its economy in ruins. Sponsorship from big names is out because of the association with Mugabe,” said Vivienne Burroughs.

The Indian team’s tour,Coltart said,could have generated some interest in cricket again and hoped the ongoing ODI series would bring in financial support.

“The problem is that players are not being paid well,and as a result there are revolts happening now and then. The big teams are not coming here anymore either,” he said.

But for now,Coltart does not believe there is a silver lining in sight despite the profits made from the Indian team’s presence over the last two weeks. “Even the money made from this series will not be used for the game’s development as the board is dealing with severe financial debt,” he said.

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