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Zimbabwe’s cricketers are the highest paid sportspersons in the country, claims a report in local newspaper The Standard. According to “a ZC insider”, Zimbabwe Cricket has put in place a graded payment structure for domestic cricketers. Top cricketers are in Grade X, and receive US$5,000 a month, those in Grade A US$3,500, Grade B Us$2,000 and Grade C US$1,500. At the bottom is the Rookie Grade, on which cricketers are paid a retainer fee of US$300.
The story names Gavin Ewing, Terry Duffin and Charles Coventry as examples of Matabeleland Tuskers players in Grade X, and also suggests that Mountaineers offloaded Tatenda Taibu and Stuart Matsikenyeri “in order to relieve the franchise’s huge wage bill”.
As a comparison, Zimbabwe’s club footballers – thought to be the second-highest paid group of sportsmen - are reported to be earning monthly salaries of between US$300 to US$800. Players also receive bonuses of between US$80 and US$200 for winning matches, and footballers with top clubs such as Dynamos taking home US$1,000 for winning a match at the African Champions League.
Despite their relative wealth in their home country Zimbabwean cricketers’ salaries still pale in comparison with those of the highest earning cricketers in the world. At the opposite end of the scale, a Forbes study last year stated that M.S. Dhoni was the world's richest cricketer with annual earnings of US$10m, followed by Sachin Tendulkar at US$8m.