No political vetting of players, say Zimbabwe

The head of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union has reacted angrily to a fresh report that the squad on tour in England was politically vetted.

The ZCU chairman, Peter Chingoka, described the allegations as "insulting and inaccurate", adding: "I denied this slur when we arrived in the UK on 1 May and have stated on many occasions since that the squad's selection is based on the identification of young talent and future cricketing potential."

A report listed ZCU officials who, it claimed, have links to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. It also claimed that players had been picked on the proviso that they would not speak out on political issues. Before the start of the tour, the former Zimbabwe captain Alistair Campbell took a similar line by claiming the tour party consisted of "yes men".

Andy Flower and Henry Olonga both wore black armbands during the recent World Cup to mourn what they described as "the death of democracy" in their country. Both retired from international cricket afterwards and Flower is now playing county cricket for Essex, while Olonga is fulfilling media contracts for the tour.

Chingoka said that Flower was the only player not in the squad who would have "merited inclusion".

He said: "Recent players who have criticised the team should look at their own performances over an extended period of time as the real reason they were not selected."

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