Harare — Zimbabwe’s domestic first-class competition has been postponed for a third time this season, with no confirmation of when fixtures may resume.
The four-team, 12-round tournament has only had one completed match so far after player strikes and non-payment of salaries. Now an unexplained postponement, ostensibly to concentrate on the the Zimbabwe Premier League, a 40-over club competition that was going to take place anyway, has got in the way of game time.
In an email sent by Caesar Bond Nayoto, Zimbabwe Cricket’s manager of domestic cricket and game development, and seen by ESPNcricinfo, ZC have decided to “focus on the ZPL” and will circulate Logan Cup fixtures in “due course”.
A source expected the competition to resume mid-February, but admitted players were becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of game time.
There has been no explanation given to players for the most recent postponement, but it is known that it does not have anything to do with outstanding payments to players. Unlike earlier in the season, when provincial players from the Matabeleland Tuskers went on strike and forfeited their match over unpaid salaries, players have been paid. Rather, it is thought that logistical concerns from Zimbabwe Cricket’s side are preventing matches from getting underway.
For Zimbabwe’s national players, the inaction is a major concern not least because they do not have any cricket scheduled until at least the middle of the year, when they are due to travel to Sri Lanka. That means they will likely only have a series or two in preparation for the 2019 World Cup qualifier, which takes place in Bangladesh in March 2018 and without regular game time, Zimbabwe fear they may miss out on the showpiece event.
“The officials expect the team to do better than other teams but then give them the worst preparation,” an insider said. “For the players, at the moment, it’s a case of training and running, playing a little bit and then just more training. They are frustrated.”
National coach, Heath Streak is planning a training camp for the players to compensate for the lack of the game time. Details are yet to be confirmed.
The Logan Cup is scheduled to run until early May, but the latest postponement could see it extend further into the Zimbabwean winter, unless some rounds are forfeited. If fixtures resume mid-February, the tournament could lose at least three rounds.