When Zimbabwean cricketer Ryan Burl was seeking a sponsor by posting the image of his torn shoes, the cricketing world was stunned learnung about the miserable conditions of Zimbabwean cricket. Although Burl got sponsored by Puma after his tweet, he and his teammates are not going to represent their country in the T20 World Cup.
Zimbabwean cricket has an especial place in Bangladeshi fans' hearts. Even a decade ago, when Bangladesh was a comparatively weaker side, Zimbabwe was Bangladesh’s best friend-- paying visit regularly, also inviting Bangladesh to play them on their grounds.
As the T20 World Cup 2021 begins tomorrow, the fact that Zimbabwe is not there-- not even in the qualifiers, will certainty make the Bangladeshi fans upset.
Despite their woes, Zimbabwe used to be regular in the ICC tournaments. The answer to the grim question- what brought theme here, can be found in the inability and incompetence of their cricket board.
Zimbabwe's exclusion didn't take place for their poor performance but for an unlucky incident in July, 2019. Due to the allegation of political interference in the cricket board, ICC put a suspension on Zimbabwe from attending any of their tournaments and withdrew fundings.
Zimbabwe is the 1st full member of ICC to receive such a ban. Though ICC lifted the suspension within 3 months only, it had its consequences. Out of frustration, veteran Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire immediately retired.
The ban restricted them from attending the preliminaries for T20 World Cup which resulted in Namibia's entry in the qualifiers. Zimbabwe failed to attend the ICC World Cup 2019 as well.
However, ICC's suspension in 2019 was the 2nd blow for Zimbabwean Cricket. The first one was in 2003 when senior cricketer Andy Flower and Henry Olonga revolted against the authoritarian regime by wearing black armbands on the field. The incident was followed by the exclusion of some senior players whose shoes were never filled.
The crisis that began to brew in 2003 saw its ultimate result in 2019.
However, amidst all the crisis, Zimbabwe has beaten Scotland by 2-1 in their last T20 series. Winning against Pakistan by restricting them to just 99 runs is their biggest achievement in recent times. But everything seems gloomy when we remember the fact that they are not in the World Cup.
The fact that Zimbabwe is 11th in the ICC T20 ranking makes their absence in the World Cup even more saddening. Fans can only hope that they come back stronger in the next edition of World T20.