England would not go to Harare to play Zimbabwe in the 2003 World Cup but in April the Zimbabwe government instructed the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) to say that they were willing to send a team for an early summer tour of England. The visit was sanctioned by the British government. Opponents of Robert Mugabe's regime threatened to disrupt the tour and one hundred British MPs accused the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of putting profit before principles in allowing the tour.In the end there was relatively little protest at the grounds from the 'Stop The Tour' group.
The selection was vetted by Robert Mugabe although the ZCU Chairman, Peter Chingoka, denied that political considerations played any role in the squad selection.
The tour failed to vindicate the selectors' policy of playing a young, inexperienced side.Even as the batting was weakened by Vermeulen's misdemeanours and Carlisle's injury, the selectors failed to call up experienced replacements, although it was clear to all how badly they were needed.
Background conditions did not help the Zimbabweans either.English counties fielded under-strength teams in the warm-up matches and pitches were too friendly to seam bowling so that England's fast bowlers, even in the absence of Hoggard, Flintoff and Caddick, effortlessly picked up the Zimbabwean batsmen's wickets cheaply. It seemed that England were helped far more than the tourists by some dubious umpiring decisions.
The Zimbabweans lost both Tests and did not reach the final of the NatWest Challenge at Lord's, although they did record a four wicket win in the Trent Bridge ODI.
Middle-order batsmenStuart Carlisle, Dion Ebrahim, Sean Ervine, Grant Flower, Barney Rogers, Douglas Marillier,
All-rounders: Andy Blignaut Heath Streak
Spin bowlerRaymond Price
Fast bowlers:Douglas Hondo,Mluleki Nkala, Travis Friend.
A M Blignaut
S V Carlisle
D D Ebrahim
S M Ervine
G W Flower
T J Friend
D T Hondo
D A Marillier
M L Nkala
R W Price
B G Rogers
H H Streak
M A Vermeulen
Joined the tour party for the
G B Brent
one-day internationals in
C K Coventry
R W Sims
Logan Cup teams
Msh: Mashonaland (6)
Mat: Matabeleland (5)
Average age of team at time of first Test match
(11 May 2003) :
24 yearrs0 months
ODI member of squad for NatWest Challenge
Test Appearances made before the tour
G W Flower 63,Streak 51,Carlisle 27,Ebrahim 14,Friend 10,Price 10,Blignaut 8,Nkala 7,Taibu 6,Marillier 5,Hondo 1,Vermeulen 1,Ervine 0,Rogers 0,Sibanda 0.
M A 'Babu' Meman
Bradley I Robinson
Ali Shah (chief selector),Geoff Marsh (coach), .........
Unavailable:Andy Flower and Henry Olonga retired from international cricket following their black armband protest in the 2003 World Cup, mourning the death of democracy.Alistair Campbell, Paul Strang and Guy Whitall had also retired.
Andy Blignaut was available again after disagreements in 2002 with Zimbabwe's cricketing authorities
Tour Party Announced :15 April 2003.(Times 17 46b)
Not selected : Craig Wishart, Gavin Rennie and Trevor Gripper.
Squad for one-day series:Nkala, Rogers, Sibanda and Vermeulen would go home while Gary Brent, Charles Coventry,Stuart Matsikenyere, Waddington Mwayenga and Richard Sims were added to the side.
Time between selection and departure from Zimbabwe
(15 April - 29 April)
The team left Harare for London on 29 April.Arrival at Heathrow Airport was on 30 April 2003. The Zimbabwe team travelled to the Crown Plaza in London before leaving in the team coach for Birmingham and their first match.
Time spent in England
(30 April - 14 July)
On-tour selection panel
..... (selector on tour),Geoff Marsh (coach),Heath Streak (captain),Tatenda Taibu (vice-captain)
Mark Vermeulen was sent home early after several transgressions, including deliberately failing to stop a ball against Sussex at Hove as it was ‘too cold’ and verbally abusing the then team manager, Babu Meman, in public at Shenley, where they were playing Middlesex. At the end of the second day of the Test at Chester-le-Street, Vermeulen ignored an instruction to travel with the rest of the squad on the coach and went off on his own.
Stuart Carlisle broke his thumb before the one-day series, but the selectors declined the opportunity to recall Rennie or Wishart.
•Vermeulen scored 198 against a weakened Sussex team. Carlisle and Flower also recorded centuries in the first-class warm-up matches.
•Grant Flower hit 96 not out to guide Zimbabwe to victory over England in the one-day international at Trent Bridge.
•Streak took four wickets for no runs in 16 balls in the ODI at Bristol.
Other first-class matches
ϯ Minor matches
§ One-day internationals
Return to Zimbabwe
On 8 June Babu Meman, the team manager sent Mark Vermeulen home for misconduct.At the end of the second day of the Test at Chester-le-Street, Vermeulen had ignored an instruction to travel with the rest of the squad on the coach and went off on his own.
Mluleki Nkala, Barney Rogers and Vusi Sibanda, who played no part in the Test series, also returned home before the ODI series.
Zimbabwe did not reach the final of the one-day triangular series and flew home on 13 ? July.