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Zimbabwe cricketer pleads for sponsor, posts picture of ripped shoe

At a time when the world’s wealthy cricket board is earning millions from sponsorship and broadcast rights, Zimbabwe player Ryan Burl has highlighted the plight of his country’s cricketers, who cannot even afford decent shoes for their matches.

The 27-year-old Burl, a left-handed middle-order batsman who has played three Tests, 18 ODIs, and 25 T20Is, on Saturday, tweeted a picture of his ripped shoe, a glue stick, and some tools to fix it.

He wrote, “Any chance we can get a sponsor so we don’t have to glue our shoes back after every series. Crying emoji.”

 Zimbabwe, who have seen talented cricketers such as Alistair Campbell, Heath Streak, Andy and Grant Flower, Tatenda Taibu, Henry Olonga and Neil Johnson, among others play for the country, have seen the standards plummet of late.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) had suspended the country’s cricket board in 2019 due to government interference and disallowed them from competing in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers later that year.

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However, Zimbabwe was reinstated in October, but since then most of their tours have got cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the one where India was scheduled to visit the country for a limited-overs series in August 2020.

The Babar Azam-led Pakistan had toured Zimbabwe in April-May this year, making a clean sweep of the two-Test series and winning the T20I series 2-1.

Burl’s tweet has gone viral with several cricket lovers highlighting the inequality among cricket-playing nations.

“Surely these pathetic situations, this inequality of capital distribution is going to ruin the scope and popularity of the cricket. @ICC is equally responsible for these situations,” wrote a cricket fan.