Home » Sports » SRC and Not ZC, Are the Villains

WITH the storm, in a teacup if you like, created by the Sport and Recreation Commission over Zimbabwe’s tour of Pakistan for a cricket series having subsided, it’s high time we called the sports authority’s bluff.

We would, without a doubt, be doing ourselves a huge disservice as a nation if we were to all allow what so far appears to be a cheap publicity stunt to go unchallenged.

On paper, the SRC’s last-minute attempt to stop Zimbabwe from flying out to Pakistan, on security grounds, seemed quite an honest and responsible act on the part of the sport authority.

Any sensible person, of course, would have serious qualms about dispatching a national side to a country that has not hosted a full International Cricket Council member since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March 2009.

And reading about militant upheavals in Pakistan almost every other week, there’s not even any need to talk about the instability in that country.

The reality, however, is that Pakistan was not going to be a sporting pariah forever.

Someone, somewhere had to break the barrier – and it happened to be Zimbabwe.

I honestly think it would be foolish to assume ZC managing director Alistair Campbell – a former Zimbabwe captain – and his colleagues on the team that went to assess the security situation in Pakistan would only prioritise financial, or any other presumed interests, in aising their board to sanction the tour.

They, too, should have been concerned about safety but, clearly, they were satisfied with the security measures promised by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Then all of a sudden, the SRC woke up from its slumber, condemning ZC for allegedly defying them and putting the lives of Zimbabwe’s cricketers at risk.

Yet the same SRC had – prior to ZC committing to the tour and spending a lot of money on preparations and travel arrangements – reportedly given the local cricket board carte blanche to decide whether to play in Pakistan or not.

So, to slam ZC – whether it was right or not in proceeding with the tour – can only be disingenuous on the part of the SRC.

In short, the SRC, perhaps true to form, slept on the job and only tried to shut the stable door when the horse had already bolted.

Indeed, it’s morally reprehensible for the Commission to attempt to run away with the gospel now when it was at best lackadaisical about the whole issue and, at worst, not interested at all.

Surely their kneejerk reaction, though nothing new, was quite scandalous.

In the resultant melee, willing tools and megaphones have been roped in to support a gigantic public opinion fraud committed under the banner of “national outcry”.

A number of other unsuspecting cricket lovers have also been sucked in and placed as collateral in the lobby against ZC.

We have seen articles and television footage demonstrating emotion, anger and irrationality whose genesis no one will ever comprehend.

As usual, some have not missed the opportunity to push their self-serving agendas by plucking the debate out of its context and situating it in the terrain they are familiar with – mudslinging.

Yet, for now, all we can do is pray for the tour to pass without incident. And, more importantly, hope Zimbabwe win on the field of play.

I have no doubt touring Pakistan hasn’t been any easy decision for ZC.

We can argue all we want or even until donkeys grow horns, but no one can dispute in the end the game of cricket will be the winner.

This is the same Pakistan that stood by Zimbabwe in our darkest hour of need – when the likes of England, Australia and New Zealand decided to shun the game here on political grounds.

Without belittling the instability prevailing in Pakistan, ZC authorities instead should get all the plaudits they deserve for affording the millions of Pakistani cricket fans a chance to enjoy the game they are madly in love with on home soil.

In the meantime – while the SRC is waiting to come good on its promise to punish ZC for undertaking the tour – we hope the Commission will attend to other sporting disciplines that are gasping for their last breath on the authority’s watch.

We hope, too, to see them frothing at the mouth over the mess or dire situation in football, boxing, tennis and you name it.

In the end we hope sport, including cricket, will remain the winner.

Darlington Majonga is a journalist and media consultant

Source : The Herald