Assurances needed from Zimbabwe Cricket January 25, 2005

Streak says rebels keen to return

Heath Streak: 'Most of the guys now want to come back but we need assurances on selection' © Getty Images
Last week's news that talks had started between the remaining rebels and the Zimbabwe board was welcomed by almost everyone, and Cricinfo has learned that another meeting has been planned for this Wednesday (January 26). Eight dissenting players - Heath Streak, Stuart Carlisle, Trevor Gripper, Grant Flower, Andy Blignaut, Raymond Price, Neil Ferreira and Craig Wishart - are involved.

In an exclusive interview with Zimbabwe's Sunday News, Streak said that most of the players were keen to return but needed assurances on a number of issues. "Most of the guys now want to come back but we need assurances on selection. We need a competent panel made up of people who have at least played first-class cricket. Macsood Ebrahim should not be on the panel. He did not play first-class cricket and the players do not trust him anymore."

Ozias Bvute, the board's managing director, and Ebrahim, the chief selector, are the two figures the rebels identify as being behind most of the problems which have blighted Zimbabwean cricket in the last year or so. The ICC report on racism last October noted that selection issues and the functioning of ZC directors needed to be "seriously addressed by the senior and mature people within Zimbabwe cricket."

It has also being reported that Sean Ervine and Blignaut, who had signed up with Australian state sides, are now considering returning as they have found the going tough. Both have struggled to make their state sides, and Blignaut, who returned to Zimbabwe for Christmas, told the Sunday News, that he was still contracted to Tasmania but he was considering his options

"I am just waiting to see how these negotiations go then I can make a decision, " he said. "I have an agreement with Tasmania that if things get sorted out here I can come back and play. I really want to play for my country."

Streak said left-arm spinner Raymond Price would not terminate his contract with English county side Worcestershire unless he is guaranteed a future in Zimbabwe cricket. "Guys are not going to terminate their Kolpak contracts which guarantee them a source of living unless they are guaranteed a future in Zimbabwe. Most of them were forced to take up the contracts after being unemployed for a long time and cricket is their livelihood."

Streak added that returning players wanted assurances and longer commitment from the board, and that might mean three-year contracts. "Zimbabwe Cricket cannot give players one-year contracts. Young players should be given three-year contracts. Youngsters like Sean Ervine should get three-year deals," he said, although he admitted that was unlikely.