Zim cricket shocker! …‘match fixing’ unearthed

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AHMEDABAD, INDIA - FEBRUARY 21: Graeme Cremer of Zimbabwe bowls during 2011 ICC World Cup Group A match between Australia and Zimbabwe at the Sardar Patel Stadium on February 21, 2011 in Ahmedabad, India. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Graeme Cremer

MATCH fixing could have been covertly taking place in Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) following the recent ‘unearthing’ of attempts to rig the game.
As the damning scandal unravels, information at hand reveals that bookmakers in most sporting disciplines have been on the prowl and Zimbabwe may not have been spared.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) charged ZC official Rajan Nayer with corruption for allegedly trying to manipulate the outcome of two Test matches against the West Indies in Bulawayo in October 2017.
Nayer approached Graeme Cremer, the Chevrons skipper with US$30 000 to influence the result of the two Test matches.
Zimbabwe lost the first Test before garnering a draw in the second.
Last week’s statement by the ICC read:
“The International Cricket Council (ICC) has charged Rajan Nayer with three counts of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.
Nayer, the Treasurer and Marketing Director of the Harare Metropolitan Cricket Association, has also been provisionally suspended with immediate effect and has been charged with the following three offences under the Code:
1. Article 2.1.1 being party to an effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspects of an International match or matches
2. Article 2.1.3 offering a player US $30,000 to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspects of an International match or matches
3. Article 2.1.4 directly solicited, induced, enticed or encouraged a player to breach Article 2.1.1
Mr Nayer has 14 days from 16 January 2018 to respond to the charges. Neither the ICC nor Zimbabwe Cricket will make any further comment in respect of these charges at this stage.”
The fortunes surrounding the senior men’s cricket team raises many questions on whether the team is clean on bookmaking.
The team has never shown consistency in any tour or tournament.
Bookmakers might have been eyeing the Chevrons who have produced more negative results than positive for more than a decade while hiding behind the façade of ‘rebuilding’.
The Zimbabwe national cricket squad underwent a major overhaul in 2000 after senior players boycotted the flagship team citing differences with the then Zimbabwe Cricket Union.
The players were protesting the quota system where blacks were to be part of the national team.
The white players were also against the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme in Zimbabwe.
They even demonstrated by wearing black armbands to ‘mourn’ what they claimed was the ‘death’ of democracy in the country.
As a result of the boycott, fringe players were promoted to the senior men’s team.
These included Tatenda Taibu, Hamilton Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Brandan Taylor and Prosper Utseya, among others.
These players showed great potential with hopes that they would further enhance the fortunes of the national team.
Emerging mainly from the high density suburbs such as Highfield, the players soon attracted global attention with every game they played.
As minnows in the game, they had to learn the ropes the hard way.
Pundits even gave a time frame that the team, in five to 10 years, would be a formidable force in the gentleman’s game.
That has not been the case as the team continues to show potential with most players from the early team that took over from rebels having retired from the game without realising the dream of a strong national team.
Where did that great potential go?
Suffice to say there might be a lot of underhand dealings that had been going on in the flagship team.
Cremer deserves a hero status after refusing to trade his loyalty to the game and the country for the 30-pieces-of-silver.
However, the big questions is: Is it the first time bookmakers have approached Zimbabwe?
If yes, what happened?
So, were the former captains like Chigumbura, Taibu, Taylor and Malcom Waller, among others, ever approached by bookmakers ?
What were their responses?
With a lot of contractual issues and remunerations dogging cricket in Zimbabwe, one wonders if the team has not been compromised.
The Chevrons have not shown much signs of improvement in the game and in some matches, when it is easier to win than lose, they still lose.
Players who have excelled at club level have performed dismally in national colours.
Thus, thoughts of the team having been compromised are not far fetched.
Some of the world’s best coaches have come and coached Zimbabwe but the desired results have not been forthcoming.
The coaches have proven track records elsewhere, with decorated Cvs, but once they came to the minefield, their reputation went up in smoke.
Playing the devil’s advocacy here!
What could be the reason for such failures?
Match-fixing maybe?
The national team, on Tuesday, lost to Bangladesh in a Tri-Nation Series match by 91 runs after restricting the hosts to 216.
With all odds favouring them, the team disappointed, with stalwarts Masakadza and Taylor failing to make an account of themselves.
Masakadza went to the pavilion for five, while former skipper was dismissed for a golden duck.
On a day when the bowlers shine, the batsmen disappoint; that has been the trend of Zimbabwean cricket.
More investigations still need to be done on whether matches are being manipulated or not.
Kenya is a good example of a nation that was robbed of its potential by bookmakers.

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