After much reluctance and soul-searching, an England XI departed for South Africa in preparation for a meaningless tour of Zimbabwe. A Mugabe-run former Rhodesia, veterans of international controversy ignited by Ian Smith’s UDI, a bastion of racial segregation, which is now suffering from opposite extremes of oppression. Mismanagement has led to agricultural output plummeting by 90%, murder and starvation are rife, those opposing the current regime are imprisoned, pariah status is near. 98.5% of the British public is opposed to the tour, the government would prefer it not to go ahead. The boys in white almost returned when Robert Mugabe refused entry to the majority of journalists, a decision that was reversed in face of the team’s imminent departure. Now the first balls have been hit in anger and only the expected tropical downpours can save a potential political fiasco. If they do not, everyone involved is on a hiding to nothing. Can anyone, anyone at all, explain this absolutely unsporting encounter to me?