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Zimbabwe players threaten boycott over contract issue

Firdose Moonda

April 7, 2013

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Zimbabwe's cricketers are considering a boycott ahead of their series against Bangladesh in protest against unsatisfactory payments from their board. A source close to the players told ESPNcricinfo that non-centrally contracted players may not play in an upcoming warm-up match between Zimbabwe's cricketers, "to contest ZC's offer of a daily allowance" instead of a winter contract.

Zimbabwe's training squad

  • Brendan Taylor, Tino Mawoyo, Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Regis Chakabva, Malcolm Waller, Kyle Jarvis, Keegan Meth, Tendai Chatara, Chris Mpofu, Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams, Timycen Maruma, Raymond Price, Graeme Cremer, Chamu Chibhabha, Tino Mutombodzi, Natsai M'shangwe, Sikandar Raza, Shingi Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Charles Coventry, Brian Chari, Kevin Kasuza, Richard Muzhange, Nathan Waller, Richmond Mutumbami, Edward Rainsford, Tawanda Mupariwa.

The latest setback comes 10 days before Zimbabwe begin a series against Bangladesh, and threatens to disrupt their preparations. Although a large number of the players involved in the upcoming series are contracted to the board and do not have the same financial concerns, they are expected to support those on the fringes who have asked for winter contracts and been denied.

Zimbabwe's fringe players were contracted to their franchises and paid through Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) grants, which were distributed to the franchises. All those agreements were only for the summer and ended on March 31, leaving most cricketers in need of work over the winter. Some of them have done so by obtaining club cricket deals in the UK - a source of stable income - which they will have to forego to spend the next few weeks in Zimbabwe playing in the Bangladesh series, and in later matches against India (three ODIs) and Sri Lanka in July and August. The lack of clarity on the renewal of contracts has also left coaches uncertain about their future.

The players, who declined to comment on record, are willing to stay in the country if they have a contractual agreement guaranteeing them a winter salary. ZC, who are steeped in debt, can only afford a daily allowance, which has been described by a source as "pittance". As a result, the players have decided they may not take the field for an internal warm-up match before the Tests to show their discontent with the situation. Some media reports in Zimbabwe also claim the players have not been attending training.

In case the franchise players decide to honour their club cricket arrangements abroad, Zimbabwe will be left with fewer cricketers to choose from for the series. Interim coach Stephen Mangongo promised changes after the team lost all seven matches on their recent tour of West Indies, but he may not be able to follow through with those changes if players are unavailable.

A similar financial hurdle hit Zimbabwe the last time they played Bangladesh, on their Test comeback in August 2011. Then, Tatenda Taibu, who has since retired, complained of non-payment and said nothing had changed from the dark days of the country's cricket. Shortly afterwards, Zimbabwe introduced a central contract system which allowed for 15 players to be put on national books.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by Julian_Vella on (April 9, 2013, 4:20 GMT)

The players are in their right to ask to be paided to stay in Zim so the selectors can call upon them for selection,(by doing this they miss out on playing club cricket in England where they would be able to earn a wage). The board and selectors though feel that they should be able to call upon all Franchise players for selection in what is their home " Summer of cricket". Both parties should be entitled to these expectations but most other countries host their summer of cricket whilst their 1st class competition is being held so all players are available for national selection, then in the "off season" players a free to go overseas to earn money (and valuable experience which the board should support). But in Zimbabwe the 1st class season is "un-disterbed" so all national players can be available to "prop up" the domestic season. Zim are also dis-advantaged that their "summer" conicides with SA,Aus, India & NZ etc so these countries are reluctant to tour then. ICC please help !!!!!

Posted by grahaam on (April 8, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

ZCF_OUTCAST, You really must stop blaming individual players who you seem to slate randomly with each bit of breaking news from Zimbabwe Cricket, there is a common denominator here and it is not the players. Zimbabwe cricket are solely responsible for the financial mess and player discontent. As with all things that used to run well in Zimbabwe a minority of very corrupt individuals rule everything for personal gain and political reasons. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (April 8, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

Those who persevere will reap in abundance when things get better. On the other hand, those who are feeble, and useless to Zim's cause like Coventry & Williams can continue with their business.

Afterall, Matabeleland Tuskers was loyal to them and gave them a chance despite their lack of loyalty and focus ahead of the past season. Without that chance neither of them would have been spoken of anywhere near the national team.

Instead of being grateful for the chances my beloved franchise showed to them as opposed to other more committed players who didn't even have franchise contracts, and would've made the most of it if they did, they opt to turn their backs. Good riddance.

Posted by njr1330 on (April 8, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

As to low pay in League cricket. The ECB has for years had a minimum contract payment for 'pro's'. This payment is in addition to return flights and accommodation. There is no way round it, as you have to file a signed contract in order to get the pro's work permit. In my experience, it was generally about £1,000 sterling per month.... I.e. a relative fortune by Bangladesh standards. And I repeat, there is no way around the minimum figure: the Home Office were absolutely ruthless about it; as we're Revenue & Customs. Paying a non-contracted overseas player is of course, a criminal offence!

Posted by Hunsy on (April 8, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

Reading what Charles Coventry has tweeted today it seems that last month's salary payments are late and that he and other players aren't happy at all with ZC!

Posted by kudakc on (April 8, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

what is it that they have done or achieved to the extend of planning a boycott. Boycotting will only work for pefoming teams. Their perfomance can onlyt be compared to school boy cricket and not international standards. I agree with the daily allowance being offered by ZC up untill they start to perfom well

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (April 8, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

I just keep thinking to myself that finally Bangladesh will finally have some test points on the table.

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