The country of Zimbabwe has been a state of turmoil over the past few weeks and it has had its effect on the sport of cricket.
New Zealand are scheduled to play a two-test match series later this month but the riots and unrest in the capital of the country, Harare, has seen the Black Caps hesitate to make the tour.
A petition on the Change.org website has urged the New Zealand Cricket Broad to call off the tour in a stand against the ruling president Robert Mugabe.
Just last week, the citizens of Harare boycotted the offices, schools and even hospitals as they were in protest against the 36-year rule of the current president. There has been a lot of unrest over the state of the economy and the pile of unpaid wages has only made it worse.
A petition on the New Zealand website is “in support of the massive uprising of ordinary Zimbabwean citizens against Robert Mugabe” which currently pose a threat to the safety of cricket team.
In the past, the Black Caps have twice postponed their tour to the same country in 2009 and 2010 before finally completing a series successfully a year later. They also travelled to Zimbabwe last year for a limited over series without any incidents.
India completed their tour to Zimbabwe just last month playing 3 ODIs and 2 T20’s and South Africa’s A team is currently playing a four-day game in Harare after being assured of their safety.
And it is understood that the squad from New Zealand touched down at Pretoria for a week-long camp before they move to Harare for the first warm-up match on the 22nd of this month.
On departure on Monday, Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said NZC and the Players’ Association revealed that he had no doubt that the tour will go through unless there is a direct threat of violence the touring party.
Yes I am, absolutely, and there’s nothing to suggest it won’t at this stage,” Hesson said.
“We’ve been pretty well briefed in terms of what’s happening. Heading to South Africa for seven or eight days, if anything changes I’m sure we’ll be given plenty of instruction. We’re confident we’re getting up to date information,” he added.
The ICC’s Future Tour Programme agreement also lays hefty penalties on boards who do not go through with scheduled tours and this might see New Zealand pay a compensation to the Zimbabwe tour that also involves liability for the loss of broadcasting rights money.
On the wake of this situation, NZC revealed that they were monitoring the situation in Harare and that they will boycott the tour like asked in the petition only if the situation deteriorates.
For now, it looks like the Black Caps will go through with their tour to Zimbabwe.