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Goodwin Backs Zimbabwe - World Cup Cricket

Abc of Cricket Exclusive Feature Cricket StoryExclusive Article by Ken Piesse 17/01/03

Murray Goodwin has urged the Australians and others to tour strife-torn Zimbabwe despite the continuing political and financial instability which has brought his country-of-birth to its knees.

"It's just so important for the development of cricket in our country," he said. "It would be a huge downer if they don't. The Zimbabwe public live for sport and to have the best in the world there is very important."

Goodwin rejected the opportunity to return to Zimbabwe and play in the soon-to-start World Cup, saying he still has bitter memories of how the Zimbabwe Cricket Union ran the game in the late '90s. "I'm enjoying playing for Western Australia and (English) county cricket for Sussex. I do miss the international scene, miss playing with some of my best mates and traveling the world playing the game I love. "But the way the Zimbabwe cricket Union ran things in the past was an absolute dog show."

"I didn't want to be part of that and I was fortunate in that I could come here and be a part of a more professional outfit. I didn't want to be treated like I was. "It had to take the retirements of people like myself, Neil Johnson, Adam Huckle and Paul Strang for them to buck their ideas up. Suddenly their financial situation jumped 300 per cent ... and they kept telling us that they had nothing in their coffers."

"We were earning foreign currency for the country and they were paying us Zimbabwe dollars and the inflation then was 75 per cent. Now it's 140 per cent. It's chaos."

With a Test average of 40-plus, Goodwin, 30, said he left with a few misgivings, but has no regrets at re-starting his career with Western Australia. So far this summer he has made two big Pura Cup centuries - 176 against Tasmania and 164 against South Australia - and has also been prominent in the one-dayers, his contributions including 52 from 51 balls against Victoria last Friday night in Melbourne.

He wishes the very best for Zimbabwe cricket and doesn't expect any safety issues to be a problem for the visiting international teams. "You never know though," he said.

"It's quite a volatile situation there, if teams don't go it may start sending a message through to the government to get their house in order."

"But from a cricketing perspective all the players and fans want to see Australia and England play there. It would be a huge boon for the game there."

Goodwin was a member of the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy in 1992-93. He has represented Zimbabwe 90 times, including 19 Tests.

Article provided by Cricket Week.

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