Cholera is rife. Urban residences are without water. There is a total lack of effective government. Inflation is at 231,000,000%. A tyrant holds on grimly to power. Famine is widespread. Life in Zimbabwe is cheap.

The West does not stand idly by and many individuals and agencies are doing what they can to try and alleviate the suffering of the Zimbabwe people. But their hands are tied because Mugabe and his henchmen do little to help humanitarian movements and charities make progress.

What as observers of the chaos and the disaster can we do? We are not powerless and there are both practical and symbolic actions that we can take both to help Zimbabwe’s stricken population and to demonstrate to the military backed Mugabe regime that nothing can be normal in our relations with his benighted country. Which brings me to cricket…

Can you believe that over the past two weeks properly sanctioned and approved international cricket has been taking place in Harare? The full international Sri Lankan cricket team has played five One Day Internationals against Zimbabwe in the country’s capital. There is no secret about this grotesque and offensive parody of the so-called “Spirit of Cricket”. Under the auspices of cricket’s governing body the International Cricket Council “Sri Lanka Cricket” has seen fit to play sport in Zimbabwe at a time when the country is in total turmoil.

Behind tightly guarded gates cricket was played whilst in the city and beyond there was starvation, death and destruction. This grotesque charade brings the good name of sport and of cricket in particular into disrepute. The Sri Lankan Government and cricket authorities have done themselves no favours in the wider world. And the International Cricket Council (ICC) have not only seen fit to authorise this charade but have even sent a delegation to Harare to watch the cricket and to

“…establish the current state of cricket in Zimbabwe as it relates to the management and development of the game and also to conduct an assessment of the policies and programmes executed with the view to restoring the senior team to Test cricket.”

What planet do the apparatchiks of the ICC come from? Can they seriously believe that there is any case for playing international cricket with and in Zimbabwe at this time?

“What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?”

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