Pakistan in Zimbabwe 2013 August 30, 2013

Tests in danger over Zimbabwe's payment dispute


The Zimbabwe players have extended to Monday* a deadline for Zimbabwe Cricket to clear their dues, which could yet put a cloud over the two-Test series that begins on Tuesday. The hosts aborted training on Friday morning ahead of the deciding ODI against Pakistan in protest, but took the field on Saturday and lost by 108 runs.

Zimbabwe, through their newly-formed players' union, had considered a boycott of the final ODI if the salaries had not been paid by end of day Friday, but as learnt by ESPNcricinfo, "most of the players" were willing to take the field and the game proceeded as per schedule.

However, an uneasy peace hovers over the situation. A player, who asked not to be named, said they have decided that unless ZC pays them what they are owed by Monday, "there will not be a Test series".

ZC was due to address the players on Friday morning at the Harare Sports Club, when they decided to stop training on realising none of them had been paid in full what was owed to them. The meeting was delayed twice, though, before ZC summoned players to its offices at 4.45pm. At least one player confirmed he did not attend the meeting because he did not think he would get anything out of it.

Zimbabwe's players were given a guarantee they would be paid on Thursday, August 28, and the money would reflect in their accounts on Friday.

A source close to the team confirmed some of them stayed at the ground on Friday on for a voluntary net but the players as a whole have banded together. "They want to get their point across and they want to make sure they get paid," the insider said. "It's about making things happen now and making sure they get some money."

The latest development comes just a day after some players told ESPNcricinfo that the union and its members were satisfied with the arrangement they had reached with Zimbabwe Cricket at the beginning of the Pakistan series. Zimbabwe's cricketers refused to train the week before the series began because they had not been paid their July salaries. Instead, they formed a breakthrough players' union - the first of its kind for at least a decade - and demanded match fees, salaries and a percentage of ICC-event reimbursements.

An eventual settlement with ZC was reached a week before the first T20. The Zimbabwe Independent reported the players had asked for US$5,000 per Test, US$3,000 per ODI and US$1,500 per T20 but those figures were too steep for ZC. It has since been ascertained that lesser amounts were agreed on.

A player, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday he was "confident" of ZC keeping to their word and making the payments. "We are satisfied with the arrangement we've reached and we believe we will be paid," he said. Less than 24 hours later, Zimbabwean players felt differently when they were greeted by empty bank accounts.

While cash-flow issues have long dogged Zimbabwean cricket - they also threatened to strike in April this year ahead of the series against Bangladesh because of unsatisfactory daily allowances - lack of playing time has also been a concern for them and if they do not take the field on Saturday they will be forgoing a rare chance to claim silverware with the series locked at 1-1.

Also, Zimbabwe's international programme for this year was due to conclude with a visit from Sri Lanka in October but the SLC has confirmed ZC asked for a postponement because of "unforseen circumstances". Zimbabwe's domestic season was due to progress as usual but the franchises have not been made aware of the exact amount of funding they will receive. As such, many of them have been unable to confirm contracts for coaches and players.

*16.10GMT, August 30: This story has been updated.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    Although Zimbabwians may not have a chance of winning the test series, it will help them playing against a strong bowling and an benefit in their coming series.

  • dexter on August 31, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    This sport of cricket is in such crisis in soooooooo many ways its just a damn shame and disgrace, the biggest problem MONEY!!!!!!! The undeniable fact is that many of the cricketing boards around the world are just not making any profit, apart from maybe India, Australia and probably England every other cricket board is struggling financially, what a sad situation for such a great sport. If these boards do not begin to take drastic , aggressive and formidable measures soon to remedy the issues that are plaguing the sport I don't know what future the game will really have, the ICC needs to step in as the parent body of cricket and put things in place to first secure the issues of the nine test playing nations and then deal with upcoming nations to help see the sport continue to expand and grow but I do not see that happening anytime soon. The West Indies cricket team will be touring New Zealand in December of this year and one thing you are guarantee sure of is a lot of empty seats.

  • nikhil on August 31, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    After reading about the conditions of payment to zimbabwe players, i feel sad for the players, but the players should always put country before money or it will become like pak,bang or indian players. If the present players boycott the upcoming series they can replace them with 2nd/3rd grade squad like west indies against bang, but it will take long time for the team to make a great comeback like the present one

  • sri on August 31, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    What ? Players demand US$5,000 for Test. Even sub continent(where cricket is major sport) players don't get paid that much. At least not all players. There are various grades based on performance/experience and players are paid accordingly. Last time i remember India used to pay Rs 2 lakh (aprox US 3K dollars).

    Agree with the author. These figures are definitely too steepy for ZC given the situation and the parity with non sports persons in that country.

  • ian on August 31, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    Posts such as the collection here are very revealing. There are those from Pakistanis (or Pak. supporters) whose sole concern is the playing of cricket against Zim. They clearly are not concerned about the plight of the Zim players & fail to see the backdrop against which the Pakistani tour is continuing. Tashfeen Masood Qayyum on (August 30, 2013, 22:15 GMT) & Cric_fever_forever on (August 30, 2013, 22:07 GMT) are two such. To them, I say now read @ LillianThomson on (August 31, 2013, 1:29 GMT). The Zim cricketers are playing (effectively without pay) because of the truth of the points raised by Lillian Thompson. Now, please, revise your appreciation of the whole sorry mess. to have functioning internat. cricket played in a country you need respected systems in place, inc. the paying players! Zim cricket, like so much else in that forsaken country, is evidently run poorly, the ICC report says as much. And, irony of ironies, President Mugabe is an avowed cricket fan! Pls publish.

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    " players had asked for US$5,000 per Test, US$3,000 per ODI and US$1,500 per T20 " ... Man , that is too much for Zimbabwean players I suppose . I do agree that players should get paid because they have their family to look forward to aswell , but that amount is seriously too high for such a team which does not win on regular basis .

  • Dummy4 on August 31, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    Looks like their first win was motivated by the fact that they did not want to play matches. If Zim would have won the second ODI that was nicely denied by Pak then they would have sat out of this final ODI. Now they risk anger from public as well as board over not pressing for series win and have to play this one as well despite the urge to protest. Difficult situation for Zim players.

  • jayan on August 31, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    is the icc even a governing body... y is there no power with them... is the icc blind and deaf that they are not able to even help zc at this stage.. cricket will not grow into a global game unless it helps its existing members.. its gonna stick to group of 10 countries half of whih are already financially retarted economies.. a classic game.. and such a shabby state of affairs.. sad...

  • Arvind on August 31, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    LOL, and then some people say DRS should be made compulsory when boards can't even afford lunch for their players.

  • Syed on August 31, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    "US$5,000 per Test, US$3,000 per ODI and US $1,500 per T20" is this a case of players getting greedy? I maybe oblivious to the real extent of how badly hit money-wise the Zimbabwe players are but getting paid those amounts (playing roughly 15-20 games a year) should certainly be able to feed your family more than enough!! hmmm....

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