New Zealand

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/maehara/ on line 34.

Coltart Responds to NZC Health Concerns

Sports Minister David Coltart has responded to recent comments by New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan that the Blackcaps my pull out of their scheduled tour of Zimbabwe this year on health concerns. Speaking to the Zimbabwe Independent, Coltart was very clear that provision of health services to visiting sides should not be an issue, with Zimbabwe's private provision being as good or better than other countries that New Zealand have happily toured:

I think it’s unfortunate if that’s the reason (for not touring) because while we don’t have a first-world health system, we still have very good medical facilities in this country. Our private health system is excellent, and for those who can afford, service delivery is excellent. [...] Ask people who travel to Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and to an extent Pakistan. I believe in many respects Zimbabwe is a far healthier environment."

As for the cost of private cover, well, that's what travel insurance is for, and I would expect NZC would provide such cover for their players no matter where they were touring. The paper quotes a spokesman for the New Zealand foreign ministry, Murray McCully, as saying taht a decision had not yet been made about the tour.
Zimbabwe Independent - Health no Reason why Kiwis Can’t Tour — Coltart

Blackcaps Dig for Excuses

Cricinfo reports that the Future Tours Programme-mandated tour of Zimbabwe by New Zealand is again under threat. The tour, already rescheduled from 2009, is currently set for June 2010, but New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association are now citing concerns over the state of the public health system as reason for a further postponement:

"The pragmatist in me suggests that there's still another two years to go in the current international playing programme and we could look to postpone again," NZC Chief Executive Justin Vaughan told the Sunday Star-Times. "Medical facilities are a concern. You can go to countries and protect yourself against infectious diseases and the like as long as you've got a decent standard of hygiene and healthcare services available to you.

"We're not in possession of all the facts quite yet, but it appears that [health] could be quite a significant concern. Certainly, NZC is non-negotiable on the matter of putting our team at risk at any time."

Now, perhaps I'm missing something here, but: the problems with Zimbabwe's public health system - that is, the government-run and -funded system - are well documented, and if visiting sides were expected to avail of the service, NZC may have a point. But I would assume that any visiting side would be travelling with full health insurance, yes? This is, after all, a basic recommendation for any person visiting a foreign country. With such insurance, surely use of Zimbabwe's private healthcare system would be available to them? And why is it that only NZC are seeing this as a problem? As such, the cynic in me simply sees a side that doesn't want to fulfil their tour obligation, and is simply looking for excuses - with comments by Vaughan that a New Zealand government proscription against touring would 'make things easier' backing up that feeling.
CricInfo - New Zealand tour of Zimbabwe under cloud again

U19 World Cup Moved to New Zealand

Kenya have been stripped of the rights to hold next year's U19 World Cup, after an ICC report deemed that Cricket Kenya were unlikely to complete the required preparations in time. In a move that could have repercussions for Zimbabwe's participation in the tournament, it will noe be held in New Zealand, where the government has been reluctant to allow sporting contact with Zim even after the formation of the unity government. The national side were refused visas to visit the country a while back, resulting in the cancellation of an ODI series against the Black Caps. This will be one situation to watch, I think...

NZ Tour Postponed by Mutual Consent

Pre-empting any action that may have been taken by the New Zealand Government, Zimbabwe Cricket and Cricket New Zealand have agreed to postpone this year's scheduled tour by New Zealand until June 2010. The agreement was reached at the ICC Chief Executive's conference in Johannesburg, and gives time for the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe to improve. Just for once, common sense seems to have prevailed...
CricInfo - New Zealand postpone Zimbabwe tour

NZ Government Punts Tour Concerns to ICC

In their latest attempt to find a justification for blocking New Zealand's upcoming tour to Zimbabwe, the New Zealand government has raised safety & security concerns while calling on the ICC to 'be reasonable' about enforcing FTP requirements on New Zealand Cricket. According to CricInfo, Zimbabwe just isn't safe enough for their players - this despite the recent uneventful tour by Sri Lanka, and the upcoming visits of Canada and Namibia. Over to NZ PM John Key:

"If we send our cricket team to Zimbabwe, we threaten their personal security and safety. We threaten the risk that they might get cholera and we're sending then to a regime we don't support. [...] You have to ask the question, 'Why would the ICC be fining New Zealand for not sending their cricket team to a country which is so dysfunctional that it is a high risk if our players go there?'."

Clearly New Zealanders aren't as hard as the All Blacks would have us believe. Leaving aside the issue of giving the new unity government a chance to prove itself before waving the 'unacceptable regime' flag, the physical safety of sides touring Zimbabwe has never been an issue. NZ have also been happy to visit Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the past, and are due in India shortly - all countries that have their own recent history of terrorist attacks. What is so different about Zimbabwe that makes it so much more unsafe than those nations that touring would be unwise? Likewise, fairly basic disease prevention precautions will protect against cholera and other illnesses. It seems that the NZ government are simply looking for excuses, when there really aren't any...
CricInfo - Zimbabwe tour threatens 'security and safety' warns NZ PM

Black Caps 'Seek Clarification' on Zim Tour

The New Zealand Government has been making ominous noises about New Zealand's upcoming tour to Zimbabwe, mandated by the Future Tours Programme, which is currently scheduled for June. Prime Minister John Key is reported to have commented on the tour last week:

"I'd be deeply sceptical about whether they would be going. We don't support that regime. We don't support what's happening in that country, and we don't want to give a signal that we do."

Has he been paying attention lately? Does the phrase "unity government" ring a bell (and yes, I'm aware of the current "teething problems")? The new arragements in Zimbabwe need to be given time to bed in before other nations start ramping up the rhetoric again - now is not the time to be considering whether the Black Caps should be touring or not. The Government's comments have prompted New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive Justin Vaughan to seek formal clarification from the Government on the tour:

"We're still assessing the situation and obviously there are numerous threads there. We'll be looking to understand the government's position first and foremost, also the ICC task force are reporting back on Zimbabwe to the ICC conference [in June]. There's a lot of information we need to get before we can make a decision. [A government ban] would certainly take any decision away from me."

We've been here before, of course. There were similar comments by then-PM Helen Clark ahead of NZ's last tour to Zim, in 2005, but those calls stopped short of an outright travel ban on the team, and the tour went ahead. It remains to be seen if history will be repeating itself this time around.
CricInfo - New Zealand seek clarification on Zimbabwe

ZC Add Bangaldesh Tour to Schedule

According to CricInfo, Zimbabwe will tour Bangladesh in early 2009, in a visit arranged outside the Future Tours Programme. The tour will consist of both ODIs and first-class matches.

The tour appears on ZC's outline schedule for the 2008/09 season, which also includes two series against Sri Lanka (at home in 2008, and in Sri Lanka during 2009) and a home series against New Zealand - although that will be subject to the NZ government not taking action to prevent it. Noticeable by its absence is any mention of the visit to Kenya which had been expected to take place before the end of the year, with ZC clearly running scared of being beaten by the "weaker" African side.
CricInfo - Zimbabwe unveil preparations for 2008-09

New Zealand Cricket Resist Pressure to Cancel Zim Tour

I was wondering only a few days ago how long it would be between last week's ICC wranglings and the next calls for a cricketing boycott. Ignoring the ongoing rumblings over the ICC's "fudge", the focus is now moving to the scheduled visit of New Zealand in July 2009 - already there's pressure on New Zealand Cricket to withdraw from the tour. As this is a Future Tours Programme tour, NZC would face ICC fines if they withdrew without Government instruction, but so far NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark has restricted herself to calling on NZC to consider their position. The last scheduled tour between the two countries was called off after the NZ Government indicated they would refuse visas to the Zimbabwe side - with this tour due to take place in Zimbabwe, they would need to find another way of preventing the tour.

New Zealand have been through all this before, of course, with their 2005 tour of Zimbabwe - NZC indicated then that it was not up to them to take political decisions - NZC Chief Executive Justin Vaughan is sticking to that approach, while also pointing out that the tour is still a year away, and a lot can change in that length of time:

"No ICC team has unilaterally pulled out because they haven't agreed with the politics of the host nation; that's always been a decision for the government of the day. It's a political question and requires a political solution; it's not a decision NZC should have to make.

"We are a group of cricket administrators. We might have strong feelings about the situation in Zimbabwe but judging international politics is not what we're about. There are other, far more qualified people to do that job, politicians for example.

"The tour to Zimbabwe is a year away. There'll be another ICC conference before then; undoubtedly, a lot will change in Zimbabwe in the next year, and by that time the ICC sub-committee appointed to investigate ZC will have reported back, and we'll have a clearer idea of the situation. You never know, we might not have to make a decision. Time is on our side at the moment."

You can bet the pressure on NZC won't diminish in the meantime, though. In related news, ZC Chairman Peter Chingoka has stated in a recent interview that Sri Lanka are committed to fulfilling their FTP-mandated tour to Zimbabwe in November.
CricInfo - NZ will tour Zimbabwe unless ordered not to

New Zealand put Zim to Sword in U19 WC Opener

Zimbabwe will have been looking for a good start in their Under-19 World Cup opener against New Zealand this morning, but they didn't get one - and only avoided complete humiliation thanks to face-saving knocks by Solomon Mire and Daniel Landman. Zim won the toss and elected to field, and after losing their openers early, New Zealand were soon making hay - Corey Anderson top-scored with 82, while Prince Masvaure took 3/37 from his 10 overs. New Zealand finished their 50 overs on 221/8 - a decent score but one that Zim would have had hopes of chasing down.

Those hopes fell apart within minutes of the Zimbabwe innings starting, however, as the side quickly collapsed to 5/15, with top-order frailty apparently not being restricted to the senior sides. Solomon Mire (31), Daniel Landman (51) and Tendai Chitongo (15) added some respectability to the score by at least ensuring the side reached triple-figures, but there were no other contributions of note as Zim fell to a 98-run loss.

A very disappointing start, then. Full scorecard for this match is below the cut - Zimbabwe's second match is against Malaysia on Wednesday (20th), which on paper they should win - but with form like this, you can never be sure...
New Zealand U19 221/8 (50 overs; Anderson 82, Masvaure 3/37), Zimbabwe U19 123 (42.4 overs; Landman 51, Southee 5/11). New Zealand U19 win by 98 runs.

CWC Round-Up: 22 March

Netherlands pulled off a surprisingly thorough win against felow Associate side Scotland, although for both teams this was their final appearance of this World Cup. Going into the tournament, Scotland were the top-ranked of the 5 Associate sides (excluding Kenya, who appear on the main LG ICC rankings and not the Associate version), but they've underperformed in the West Indies and Netherland were pleased to take the opportunity to secure a win for themselves. Batting first, Scotland collapsed to 136 inside 35 overs, a total that Netherlands had no problems chasing down.

Canada weren't so lucky, although they did make New Zealand work during thier final group match. New Zealand batted first and raced their way to an impressive 363/5 from their 50 overs, including 101 from Lou Vincent. In reply, Canada got off to a speedy start thanks to John Davison, who until recently held the record for the fastest World Cup century - he seemed keen to repeat the feat here, and some lose bowling from the Kiwis, particularly Michael Mason, allowed Davison to cut loose. For a while it seemed Canada were on course for an unlikely win, but after Davison fell in the 10th over, the flow of runs dried to a trickle. Canada only just failed to bat out their 50 overs, but by then they were well off the total.
Netherlands beat Scotland by 8 wickets.
New Zealand beat Canada by 114 runs

Syndicate content