ZIMBABWE national cricket team players yesterday clashed over what formula to adopt in the sharing of their International Cricket Council World Cup pay packet minutes before they boarded their plane to Johannesburg en-route to Australia for the global showcase.
Senior Sports Reporter
The 15 players held two meetings — one at Harare Sports Club and the other one at Harare International Airport — where one clique registered discontent over sharing of the hefty package.
Senior players had suggested that the players be placed in four different categories to determine their packages.
All players were meant to sign their contracts before departure, but that was shelved with further consultation set to take place both in New Zealand and back home.
According to the proposed pay structure that caused the furore, the quartet of captain Elton Chigumbura, Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya and Brendan Taylor would be placed in the highest-earning group and they were set to receive an appearance fee of around $70 000 each.
NewsDay Sport has learnt that the lowest-paid group would have received half of that, a proposal which was turned down by the rest of the group, who demanded an equal allotment of appearance fees for each player.
It is understood the players will be paid $7 500 per game in match fees while they are also entitled to a daily allowance of $120.
The team will be out of the country for a minimum of 48 days and if they make it into the knockout stages, they would stay longer. With the proposed payment structure, the highest-paid players would receive around $100 000 each.
Sources at Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have indicated that the players have been offered $650 000 to share among the 15 travelling players and the five non-travelling party.
The four senior players had angled themselves to getting almost half of that chunk while the rest shared the remainder.
A ZC committee has its work cut out in coming up with a sharing formula agreeable to all the players and restore unity.
At first the bone of contention revolved around placement of players in particular categories, but fissures widened when some players demanded that the money be shared equally.
Some of the players in the lower categories feel they have been performing better than those who have been placed in the top tiers groups.
A few minutes before departure, the players had a public spat with a heated exchange which had to be cooled by some ZC officials.
The cracks have cast a dark shadow over their unity of purpose ahead of a tournament they simply cannot go and mess about considering public anger over their dismal performances in Bangladesh last year.
By the time the players left at about lunchtime, the promise was that a ZC committee would be tasked to come up with an agreeable formula.
Ironically all-rounder Sean Williams had expressed confidence that the team would do well this time because of the unity among the whole group.
“We got a good side and we have got a good chance going there,” said Williams.
“With new coach Dave Whatmore coming in, it’s been nice because he has brought us all back together again, the vibe is back and we will work for each other.”