Mark Vermeulen

My first reaction, on reading on Cricinfo that Mark Vermeulen was being questioned by Zimbabwean police in connection with arson attacks on the Zimbabwe cricket academy and the ZCU offices was to laugh. Not because it was remotely funny, but because I could hardly believe that he - even Mark Vermeulen - could have done it. When I read that he'd been charged (which looked inevitable) and got to grips with some of the background to what's been going on in his life over the last few months, I felt very sad.

When he hit the news after he threatened members of the crowd while playing in the Lancashire League last summer it seemed to be just another example of the suspect temperament which had hindered the deveIopment of his Test career, but his latest actions (if, as seems likely, he was responsible for the fires) have taken things into an entirely different realm. As Martin Williamson wrote on Cricinfo, Vermeulen's behaviour has apparently been extremely erratic recently, even by his standards, and all the evidence suggests that he is suffering from a depressive illness, which may have been caused or at least exacerbated by the two serious blows on the head which he received earlier in his career. For the time being it is good news that he has avoided jail, but, in the longer term he may not be so lucky and one can only fear for where he might end up.

Although Zimbabwean cricket has been pushed to the brink by the actions of a self-serving and perverse governing elite, the academy was apparently an excellent facility which was going to have an important role to play in the context of the country's attempts to regain its former status. It seems truly outrageous that the actions of a player who has tasted Test cricket could do such harm to the chances of younger players whose only aspiration is to follow in his footsteps, but one can only hope that there are mitigating circumstances and that Vermeulen gets the help which he surely needs.

1 comment:

EllaBellaBleu said...

mark's setting fire to the academy is nowhere near as bad as the damage that the admin of zim cricket is doing to the game.i feel sorry for poor mark.hopefully he gets away with it.

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