Domestic cricket returned to the scene yesterday after paving way for the International Cricket Council World Cup qualifiers last month, but there was a conspicuous absence of some national team players with suggestions that they were boycotting in protest over unpaid salaries, while others are said to be considering their future.
BY Kevin Mapasure
Midlands Rhinos clashed with Mountaineers yesterday, but former national cricket team captain Graeme Cremer, Brendan Taylor, Peter Moor, Kyle Jarvis and Malcolm Waller were missing for Rhinos.
There were reports yesterday suggesting that the players’ absence may be linked with the non-payment of their March salaries.
However, other players who played in the World Cup qualifiers that include Hamilton Masakadza and Tendai Chatara featured for Mountaineers, while Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani played for Rising Stars in the match against Cephas Zhuwao’s Mashonaland Eagles.
Sikandar Raza Butt was away in Bangladesh for the Dakar Premier League, but has since returned and missed Eagles’ match yesterday.
Before he left for Bangladesh, Raza said he needed to think about his future.
Solomon Mire has returned to his base in Australia. Sean Williams and Craig Ervine’s Matebeleland Tuskers were inactive yesterday.
Jarvis explained his absence on Twitter, saying he was recovering from injury.
“Still recovering from hamstring/hip problem from the qualifiers. Hopefully, fit and ready in the next few weeks,” he posted.
The absence of the senior players raised suspicion that they might be doing so in solidarity with their fired coaches and captain.
After Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the World Cup, following their defeat to the United Arab Emirates in their must-win Super Six encounter, the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board pulled the trigger and fired 13 coaches and support staff in all the national teams as well as chairman of selectors, Taibu.
Heath Streak, Lance Klusener and Sean Bell, who were coach, batting coach and fitness trainer respectively, have been refusing to leave their posts and have since instructed their lawyers to handle the matter.
National Under-19 coaches Steve Mangongo has since taken his case to the Labour Court, where he is demanding to be either reinstated or be paid damages.
There has been heated debated over the move by ZC to relieve the coaches of their duties, with some saying it was a justified move while others opined that the problem lay with the administration and not the technical staff and players.
Some also felt that the firing of Cremer as captain was an unjustified move, while ZC on their part have been arguing that Zimbabwe’s failure in the match against the United Arab Emirates was solely to do with the use of the wrong strategies in the rain-affected match.