Zimbabwe players agree to play first Test
Zimbabwe's players have decided against boycotting the Test series against Pakistan, easing some of the uncertainty over whether the matches would take place. The players had been protesting against late payments, and had set Zimbabwe Cricket a Monday deadline to transfer the money to their accounts.
The players haven't received their dues yet but Brendan Taylor, the captain, told ESPNcricinfo they were willing to "take the word of ZC that they will pay before the second Test."
The only Zimbabwe player who has refused to play the first Test, which starts on Tuesday, is Sean Williams, who decided he wouldn't take part unless he was paid. Wilfred Mukondiwa, the MD of Zimbabwe Cricket, said the board was working with its bankers to ensure players received their payments at the earliest.
Other than Williams, the only Zimbabwe player to miss Monday's training session was Taylor, who was away on paternity leave. He was expecting the birth of his son on Monday, and Taylor had not yet decided whether he would play the first Test.
Zimbabwe's players had aborted their training session ahead of last Friday's ODI against Pakistan, and there had been doubts over whether that game would go ahead. The players and their newly-formed union decided against boycotting the ODI but the Test series was in danger till today's decision.
The latest pay dispute first reared its head two weeks ago, before the start of the Pakistan tour, when the players formed a union and refused to train until their demands were met.
This is not the first time salaries have caused problems in Zimbabwe cricket this year. The players threatened a boycott before their April series against Bangladesh in protest over what they considered an unsatisfactory daily allowance for non-centrally contracted players.
Come out now my son! Nearly 11hours and still nothing! Gotta a test match to play tomorrow. As long as he is healthy I don't mind. #pushlove— Brendan Taylor (@BrendanTaylor86) September 2, 2013
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent