Vermeulen is allowed to play official cricket by ZC

Posted by Detective RDS on February 02, 2009

Mark Vermeulen is a 29 year old right handed opening batsman and an occasional off spin bowler of Zimbabwe. He has represented the national side of Zimbabwe and Matabeleland (now Westerns) in the Logan Cup.

Recently ZC has allowed Mark Vermeulen to play official cricket in Zimbabwe. Vermeulen is out of cricket since 2005. He played his last First Class cricket in November 2005, after he wasn't offered a contract by ZC. In 2006, Vermeulen went to play club cricket in England and played for Werneth CC but had a clash with a spectator and was banned for playing any FC or league cricket in England for 10 years. Later he appealed and his ban reduced to 3 years, 2 of which were suspended and other year has elapsed. Then in September 2006 he returned to Zimbabwe and declared that he was hoping for his selection in the World Cup 2007. But just after that in October 2006 he burnt down the National Academy and Harare Sports Club and was arrested and fined too. Vermeulen did get his bail and his bail conditions allowed him to represent local league sides in Zimbabwe. In 2007, Vermeulen started to play as the captain of a club team 'Old Hararians'. Vermeulen was cleared off the arson in January 2008 as it was proved that he has a mental illness of behaviour disorder which has occurred for his two headstrikes he suffered while playing for Zimbabwe. In February 2008 he announced that he is hoping for a return in the national side and also told about his intention to play in the club cricket in England too. In May 2008 Vermeulen offered to help in rebulding the Academy again in exchange of a contract. And finally in January 2009, Vermeulen is allowed to play official cricket in Zimbabwe.

Last year Vermeulen said,

"I hope to play some Logan Cup and see if I can make it into the national side.I have spoken with the Matabeleland [now Westerns] officials about my intentions. That is where I've played most of my first-class cricket and that's where I want to play. I want to help out the youngsters with my experience. They [the Bulawayo board] told me they needed permission from Zimbabwe Cricket before they can take me. So I am waiting and hoping that ZC allows me to play.

[The trial] was a long process and I learned a lot and I think I'm now a better person. I've been taking my medication.What happened was very unfortunate but I wasn't aware just how much I wasn't in control. I am happy that everything is back on track. I hope that ZC will forgive and forget.

I'm jobless at the moment, the only job I can do is play cricket. I've kindly asked ZC to give me my job back, then I will give a percentage of my earning towards the rebuilding of the Academy."

It seems that ZC has forgotten and forgiven him after ZC managing director Ozias Bvute told the Zimbabwean Independent in an interview this:

"There was actually no ban on him, but relations were restrained after the two arson attacks on the Academy and Harare Sports Club boardroom. He approached us with a desire to play in our leagues. Having weighed various issues we decided it was in his best interest to be allowed to play since he indicated that cricket was the only thing he lives for. Should he make the grade, he will be selected (for the national team). The decision was driven by a desire to help rehabilitate him, taking into account that he served Zimbabwe well when he first played for the national side. Life is such that everyone deserves a second chance." (January 30, 2009)

Cricinfo also has confirmed this decision by having a talk with Ozias Bvute:

"We have allowed Mark to participate in our leagues. There was actually no ban on him, but relations were restrained after the two arson attacks."

Let's have look at the career highlights of Mark Vermeulen:

As a cricketer:

Mark Vermeulen is a very talented batsman of Zimbabwe. He represented the national side side from 2000 to 2004 and played 8 Tests and 32 ODIs. He is one of the few white players who didn't join the 'Rebel' exodus way back in 2004. Vermeulen was a member of the Zimbabwean squad in World Cup 2003 in South Africa and played 3 matches there.

Vermeulen has played 8 Tests and scored 414 runs at 25.87 with 2x50, 1x100 and his best score 118 against West Indies (Bulawayo, 2003). In 32 ODIs he scored 583 runs at 20.82 with 4x50 and his best score 79 against Pakistan (Harare, 2003). His First Class record is very impressive, in 66 matches he has scored 4626 runs at 37.91 with 18x50, 11x100s and his best score 198.

Vermeulen is an excellent player of the pace bowling and a decent timer of the bowl. He is an athlete and is an excellent slip fielder. Vermeulen was the former captain of U-19 team of Zimbabwe.


Mark Vermeulen had suffered two head strikes in his career. That means he has twice had his skull fractured while playing international cricket. The first one was in the World Cup 2003 while practising in the nets, he was hit in his head by a bouncer of Travis Friend. He had a successful surgery after that.

The next one was even more dangerous. Just after the 8 months of the first one he suffered. He was hit in his head just over his eye by bouncer of Irfan Pathan in an ODI in Brisbane.

Vermeulen told this after the second head strike:

"I had a three-and-a-half hour operation and they basically had to reconstruct the front of my skull with titanium plates." (September, 2004)

Vermeulen was advised to consider retirement, but soon discounted the idea and does not expect any special treatment from fast bowlers in the future.

This is here something special for Vermeulen's prospective which reflect his true love for cricket. The doctors have warned him a third such injury could put his life at risk and he wants to play for his country taking his own life at risk!

Vermeulen told the BBC sports this:

"If it happens again it will make one hell of a mess... but cricket is my only love, my big love, and I decided to go on playing. Basically all I want to do is to play for my country. That has been my goal since I was 10 or 12 years old." (September, 2004)

Disciplinary Problems:

Mark Vermeulen had a number of disciplinary problems during his career.

In 1996 as a 13-year-old, he was given out leg before in a school match though it was a wrong decision. His response was to rip up all three stumps and take them with him to the dressing-room where he locked himself in and refused to come back out, in so doing bringing the game to a premature end. He was subsequently banned by Prince Edward High School. He was sent home from the 2003 English tour after he ignored the team management instructions to travel with the rest of the squad but he left the ground without permission and previously also refused to field the ball at Hove saying that 'It was too cold'. In September 2006, he threw a ball into the crowd while playing in a Lancashire club match in England for Werneth CC against Ashton CC after being barracked by the fan. Vermeulen later defended himself quite well giving the reasons of its occurrence. Vermeulen confirmed that he will not break discipline again in the future.

Current situation and future:

Mark Vermeulen is currently playing in the National League in Zimbabwe. It's hoped that he will play in the FC tournament Logan Cup this year which is starting from March. Vermeulen was in a fantastic form last year in the club level. If he does it again, certainly he will be selected for the national side. 6ft 4ins tall Vermeulen will be an important player for the national team. The bowling department of Zimbabwe is doing very well with the presence of experience contender Raymond Price. But the batting department hasn't got such experience player. Mark Vermeulen can fulfil the role of an experienced batsman at the top of the order. He made his debute in Sharjah against Sri Lanka in the year of 2000. He had experience of playing with Zimbabwean greats likes of Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Alistair Campbell, Murray Goodwin, Heath Streak. Though Zimbabwe will not return in the Test arena this year but Vermeulen will be a key batsman for the team when Zimbabwe will return in the Test format. Vermeulen has played 8 Tests and got a Test hundred under his belt. Vermeulen last played Test against Sri Lanka in 2004 and last played ODI against England in 2004.

It can be said that it's a 'Reborn' of Vermeulen's career. Best of luck to Mark! I hope he will be succeed and will raise the name of Zimbabwean cricket higher in the international cricket.