Former captain savages ICC on Zimbabwe turmoil

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The Independent Online

The former Zimbabwe captain Stuart Carlisle said yesterday that the game's world governing body, the International Cricket Council, needed to "grow a spine" and blamed it for the country's decision to pull out of Test cricket in 2006.

Zimbabwe's interim board announced the move on Wednesday - and Carlisle says it could have been avoided. "This is very embarrassing for cricket in Zimbabwe," he said. "I put 95 per cent of the blame on the ICC. They could have done a lot more and avoided this. But they just didn't want to get involved."

Carlisle said that the ICC would eventually have to abandon its non-interventionist policy. "One day the ICC is going to have to stand up and make a decision on something," he said. "They can't always pass it on and say it's an 'internal matter'. They're going to have to grow a spine and make a decision."

Peter Chingoka, chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket's new interim board, said the decision to withdraw from Test cricket was made after "consideration of the recent performances by the national and A teams". This is the second time in 20 months that the country has been forced to cancel its Test commitments.

Carlisle says the whole situation could have been avoided with action a year and a half ago. In April 2004, the ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed, travelled to Zimbabwe to discuss a boycott by the country's top white players. Speed was forced to return home after the Zimbabwean officials refused to meet him.

"Instead of sending Speed, they should have sent a committee," Carlisle said. "They should have sent a three-man research team and spoken to players and administrators. They always get one side of the story. They could have sorted this out a long time ago."