Eddie Chikamhi, Harare Bureau
AFTER taking part in a triangular series that was hosted by Singapore last week, two of the International Cricket Council outcasts Zimbabwe and Nepal are set to learn their status with regards to the global game when their fate is deliberated at the organisation’s board meeting this Friday.
Zimbabwe and Nepal were suspended for breaching the ICC codes relating to “government interference.” However, it is widely expected that the two boards will be welcomed back into the fold after undertaking reforms and making their presentations to the ICC.
Zimbabwe were suspended in July this year following the decision by the Sports and Recreation Commission to suspend the ZC board led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani on a litany of allegations. However, the domestic leadership has since found one another and are now speaking with one voice. However, the ICC have not said a word yet on the progress made by Zimbabwe Cricket in their bid for reinstatement. Zimbabwe have to make a compelling case on the reforms undertaken in the last three months to convince the global leadership to lift the ban.
Zimbabwe apparently have met all the major conditions which included reinstating the suspended board. Minister of Sport Kirsty Coventry is expected to be part of the ICC conference on Friday, most likely via video conferencing, after which the final call will be taken. Nepal were suspended by the ICC in April 2016 for “political interference and the lack of free and fair elections.”
This was after the country’s National Sports Council had formed a committee to run the cricket association following a dispute over presidential elections involving two rival candidates, Chatur Bahadur Chand and Tanka Angbuhang.
The Asian country however have since conducted a new poll, overseen by an independent panel featuring three ICC representatives.
Chand defeated Binaya Raj Pandey to become Cricket Association of Nepal president at an Annual General Meeting in Kathmandu last month. ICC deputy chairman Imran Khwaja, who has lead ICC’s ongoing efforts focused on the reinstatement of CAN, welcomed the elections. “We are delighted with the momentous developments in Kathmandu, which is the culmination of the ICC led governance reform process over the last three years and has resulted in a united cricket fraternity in Nepal.
“My congratulations go out to all Nepal cricket stakeholders including the fans, players, administrators, as well as the Nepal Government and the National Sports Council on this historic milestone. I am particularly thankful to the Nepal Advisory Group who formulated the current CAN constitution, and the Independent Panel who have overseen the election process at district, provincial and central levels.
“Over the last three years, Nepal cricket has reached new heights, with their men’s team obtaining ODI status and registering its maiden ODI victory and the women’s and youth teams performing well in ICC Qualifiers. This progress vindicates the ICC Board’s decision to allow Nepalese national teams to continue playing even while they remain suspended as a Member. With a newly elected Central Working Committee in place, I am optimistic that Nepal will replicate this progress off-the-field too. A major prerequisite for the reinstatement of Nepal’s ICC membership has now been achieved and we will consider the next steps during the ICC Board meeting in Dubai next month,” said Khwaja in a statement.