Zimbabwe allrounder in a quandry September 4, 2006

Williams faces club v country dilemma

Cricinfo staff

Sean Williams: club v country dilemma © Getty Images
With the ICC Champions Trophy just a month away, Sean Williams is in dilemma whether to finish his contract with Clara Vale in England or join the rest of the Zimbabwe squad.

Williams is in excellent form for in the Northumberland first division and the club is not willing to release him as they are top of the table and need him until the season ends on September 16. But Kevin Curran, Zimbabwe's coach, has told Williams that he wants him in his squad for the Champions Trophy provided he makes himself available for Zimbabwe's preparatory matches in neighboring South Africa where they play three ODI matches later this month.

"I want to play in the Champions Trophy, hopefully I get selected but my club can't release until the end of the season," Williams explained. "They are on top of the log at the moment and I am their top player. No club would want to sign me next season if I leave early."

Curran was quite clear where he thought Williams's priorities lay. "I have spoken to him a couple of times and he is clearly aware of the situation ... he has to choose between playing club cricket in England joining the other guys in camp. He is not playing in a competitive league there it is just club cricket. Even my father can play club cricket in England."

Curran is keen on Williams on because he is a capable middle-order batsman, a tight left-arm spinner and a brilliant fielder at backward point. Williams, a former Zimbabwe Under-19 captain turned down a contract offer from Zimbabwe Cricket in March this year and signed up for Clara Vale two months later.

He was approached by Curran in June and agreed to return to the Zimbabwe colours but failed to impress the national selectors against Bangladesh A and was not called up for Zimbabwe's five-match series against Bangladesh.

Four other Zimbabwean players who have been on club contracts in England - Anthony Ireland, Edward Rainsford, Terrence Duffin and Brendan Taylor - rejoin their team-mates on Monday.

Left-arm spinner Keith Dabengwa, who was also playing in England, returns home on Tuesday but he has paid the price for not keeping in touch with Curran while abroad and he does not feature in plans for South Africa.