Pay dispute overshadows Zim progress

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WHILE the national cricket team has shown signs of significant improvement during the ongoing tour by Pakistan, the gains achieved on the field of play have had to take a backseat to the battle between the players and Zimbabwe Cricket.

DANIEL NHAKANISO

Not even a single match had been played when national cricket team players refused to train because they had not been paid their July salaries.

The players, who also decided to form a players’ union — the first of its kind for at least a decade, demanded match fees, salaries and a percentage of International Cricket Council — event reimbursements.

It got even worse for Zimbabwe when the team’s leading fast bowler Kyle Jarvis opted out of series against Pakistan to take up a county offer to follow in the footsteps of batsman Craig Ervine who also made a similar move prior to the April series against Bangladesh.

Leg spinner Graeme Cremer also made himself unavailable until he had received his dues while Sean Williams followed suit before the first Test before the latter agreeing a contract with ZC.

Amidst the endless threats of boycotts, Zimbabwe still managed to put the differences with ZC behind them to record their first one-day win over Pakistan since 1998.

Although the team went on to lose the three-match series after yet another threat of a boycott on the eve of the series decider, it was clear in all matches that the team had made some progress.

For the first three days in the first Test match Zimbabwe were on top of their opponents, taking a 78-run first innings lead before they were undone by a double century from Younis Khan, an 11-wicket haul from Saeed Ajmal.

Seamers Tinashe Panyangara, Shingi Masakadza and Tendai Chatara have caught the eye with some decent performances against a strong Pakistan batting department.

In the batting department, the duo of debutant Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller put on a solid display in the first innings, a positive sign for the team which has in the past been over reliant on its senior batsmen Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza.

All these positives gained from this tour, however, risk going to waste if the players are constantly uncertain about their own future, particularly their financial wellbeing.

ZC managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa refused to comment on the recent impasse between the players when contacted by NewsDay Sport saying there we still ongoing discussions within the board over the issue.

He said ZC would issue a statement once discussions have been concluded.

“Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the issue at this stage as there are still discussions within the board on the way forward. Once they are concluded we will issue a statement, said Mukondiwa.

It has also been a problem for local media to get information from ZC as the union prefers the international media, while for the locals, ZC prefers certain individuals to push their agenda as it sees the rest at hostile.

However, players who spoke to NewsDay Sport on condition of anonymity called on the local cricket governing body to consider the livelihood of the players.

“We have had to resort to training boycotts during this series to try to push ZC to give us our dues, but that should not be the case and we hope that this will be resolved soon. If a solution is not found soon unfortunately these things will continue to happen and our cricket will not move forward,” said one of the players.

“We are professional sportspersons who earn a living through playing cricket and the local governing body cannot expect us to play to our full potential when we are not sure where we are going to get our next meal from,” said another player.

While it is an open secret that ZC is in a financial crisis, there is a strong sentiment within the local cricket circles that the organisation has failed to put the players first.

This is borne out by financial statement for 2012 which showed that ZC spent almost as much on administration in 2012 as it did on cricketers and officials.

Zimbabwe Cricket’s financial statement for 2012 confirmed that its liabilities exceeded its assets by $8.36 million, and listed more than $15 million worth of loans — some of it from the ICC.

ZC reportedly earned at least US$8 million from television rights, advertising and sponsorship during the five-match One-Day International (ODI) home series against world champions India.

However, the lucrative India tour seems to have not improved ZC’s financial position as they have sought a postponement of their bilateral series scheduled for October against Sri Lanka.

No decision on this tour has been made as Sri Lanka will then need to find a replacement team during this period.

2 COMMENTS

  1. ALL THOSE PLAYERS WHO LEFT THE TEAM BECAUSE OF MONEY MUST NEVER BE ALLOWED BACK IN THE TEAM , I MEAN THOSE GUYS DON`T EVEN PLAY GREAT CRICKET AT ALL. THEY KNOW ZC WAS NOT MAKING MONEY OVER THE YEARS BECAUSE OF NOT PLAYING TOP SIDES . IT WAS VISIONARY WE INDIGENISED OUR TEAM ,COZ THESE WHITE PLAYERS THEY ALWAYS HAVE BEEN A PROBLEM ,ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS MONEY . THEY MUST GO AND PLAY FOR AUSTRALIA OR ENGLAND COZ WE CAN DO BETTER WITHOUT THEM

    • So you want “professional” players to play for free?
      Do you work for free?
      Think before you type something on the keyboard.

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