Zimbabwe crisis worsens

Grave fears are held for the future of cricket in Zimbabwe with the Government having taken over the administration of the game.

But in a move likely to force the hand of the International Cricket Council, all white and Asian directors have been excluded from the administration.

An indication of the Government's thinking was revealed when the chairman of the Zimbabwe Sports and Recreation Commission, Brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze announced that Peter Chingoka would be the chairman of an interim board to run the game.

The Government was prepared for any repercussions of its move, the Brigadier said.

He told a press conference in Harare, and BBC Sport reported, "We are prepared to be chucked out of the Test status. The government is saying we are starting afresh. We are not bothered."

"Those who want to stay in can stay, but those who want to go are free to go. They can go to India, Canada or wherever. We are not bothered."

"The government will not be held at ransom by individuals."

He called the players' strike over demands for Chingoka and managing director Ozias Bvute to resign, "indiscipline of the highest magnitude. They have no reason to do that. It's not their role."

The Zimbabwe players' representative Clive Field said Chingoka's return would not help the situation.

"It seems bizarre that although he was head of an administration that they see fit to remove, they now make him the head of a new one."

"If this is the bunch that's going to help them deliver cricket for the next six months, I don't know what they are going to be delivering at the end of it. It won't be cricket, it'll be a corpse."

Field said players had been led to believe the issues they raised would be dealt with in good faith.

"But it would appear there has been an agenda at play which isn't necessarily about player welfare. I think we're stuffed, probably more stuffed than we've ever been."

In the meantime the players have put their strike on hold. Zimbabwe is due to host the West Indies in May.

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