February 05, 2007

On a nosedive

Bangladesh Cricket team came to Zimbabwe three days ago for a warm up tour before the World Cup scheduled next month. Although they were upset with the long journey and the loss of luggage, they put themselves together quickly to win the first one-day match yesterday. The problem was elsewhere.

There was no TV coverage of the match. Millions of fans from Bangladesh were agitated with no TV coverage from Bangladesh TV and even the absence of live webcast from Cricinfo. Martin Williams, the managing editor of Cricinfo explains why Cricinfo was unable to put the live ball-to-ball update:
"We had tried to send journalists to Zimbabwe to cover the matches but had come up against the brick wall of Zimbabwe's notorious Information Ministry. Not only do they insist on vetting anyone who wants to report from the country, but they demand a US$600 fee for issuing accreditation. This is extortion which is almost unknown anywhere else, and the primary aim is to deter anyone from wanting to travel.

Without any explanation, Zimbabwean TV turned to religious programmes and a quiz show where the quizmaster got more questions wrong than the contestants."
Even the Zimbabweans are not happy. Blogger the bearded man said:
"So what else is new in Zimbabwe - Mugabe continues to bully the population, the government continues to chase white commercial farmers off their land, while the Zimbabwean economy is in a permanent nosedive with the local currency not faring very well against all other currencies..."
Martin blames the ICC for taking these lapses for granted and concludes:
"While what happened today was not in any way the ICC's fault, it was, nevertheless, a disgrace and the ICC owes it to fans around the world - especially the millions of Bangladesh fans - to take action to ensure it does not happen again, and to find out how such a mess occurred."
Whatever steps the ICC will take, Zimbabwe, a promising nation in Cricket is not likely to pull out from the nosedive for obvious reasons. Sad indeed.


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