Zimbabwe Cricketers Suspended for Drug Use: What It Means for the Sport

A blow to the national team amid financial and administrative troubles

by Motoni Olodun

Two Zimbabwean cricketers, Wesley Madhevere and Brandon Mavuta, have been suspended from playing for four months after testing positive for recreational drugs. The ban, announced by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) on Thursday, is a blow to the national team, which has been struggling to compete at the international level.

Madhevere and Mavuta, both all-rounders, admitted to breaching the ZC employment code of conduct at a disciplinary hearing. They were fined half of their salaries for three months and ordered to undergo rehabilitation. A third player, Kevin Kasuza, is also facing a similar charge and will appear before a disciplinary committee soon.

The ZC statement said that the sanctions were imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense and the damage it caused to the reputation of the organization and the game of cricket. It also said that some mitigating factors were considered, such as the players’ remorse and their efforts to quit the habit.

The suspension means that Madhevere and Mavuta will miss the upcoming tours of Ireland and Scotland in June and July, as well as the home series against Bangladesh in August and September. They will also be ineligible for the T20 World Cup qualifiers in October and November.

Madhevere, 23, is regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s most promising young talents, having made his international debut at the age of 20. He has played two Tests, 36 one-day internationals, and 60 T20s, scoring over 2,000 runs and taking 65 wickets across formats.

Mavuta, 26, is a leg-spinner who has played four Tests, 12 ODIs and 10 T20s, taking 28 wickets. He was part of the Zimbabwe squad that toured Sri Lanka in December but did not feature in any of the matches.

Kasuza, 30, is a batsman who has played seven Tests, the last of which was in May 2021. He has not played any limited-overs cricket for Zimbabwe.

The drug scandal is the latest setback for Zimbabwe cricket, which has been plagued by financial woes, administrative turmoil, and poor performances. In 2019, the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Zimbabwe’s membership for three months over government interference in the running of the sport. The suspension was lifted after the ZC board was reinstated.

Zimbabwe is currently ranked 11th in Tests, 14th in ODIs, and 12th in T20s by the ICC. The team has not won a Test series since 2013 and has not qualified for the last two editions of the 50-over World Cup. The team’s best result in recent times was a 2-1 win over Pakistan in a T20 series in April 2021.

However, despite the challenges, Zimbabwe cricket has shown some signs of resilience and improvement. The team has unearthed some talented players, such as Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, and Ryan Burl, who have performed well against stronger opponents. The team has also drawn support from former players, such as Heath Streak, Andy Flower, and Grant Flower, who have offered to help in coaching and mentoring roles.

Zimbabwe cricket fans will be hoping that the drug issue will be resolved soon and that the players involved will learn from their mistakes and come back stronger. They will also be hoping that the team will continue to work hard and strive for better results in the future.

Source: Deccan Herald


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