The Zimbabwe dispute March 1, 2005

Rebels play waiting game

Cricinfo staff

Ray Price: no return just yet © Getty Images

The decision by Heath Streak to resume playing for Zimbabwe is likely to be followed by similar announcements from most of the remaining rebels. But some are believed to prefer waiting to see if the assurances they are thought to have been given by Zimbabwe Cricket materialise before making such a commitment.

Although the conditions which led to Streak's decision have not been discussed publicly, it is generally accepted that ZC must have made concessions, particularly in the matter of who is eligible to be a selector. Neither side wants to lose face, and it is thought that the ending of the strike would be followed by a subtle change of tack by the board in the coming months.

The key person is Max Ebrahim, currently head of the selectors and one of the individuals most disliked by the rebels. Their main objection was that he has no cricketing credentials, either as a player or coach, and the requirement that any future selectors have a decent degree of experience is reported to be at the heart of the settlement.

While most will resume playing, those with contracts to play in England are expected to honour their commitments and wait and see what happens in the coming months - these include Richard Sims, Travis Friend and Ray Price. A spokesman for Interactive, the sports agency representing Sims and Friend, said that the players would be "keeping their options open".

New contracts were sent to the rebels by ZC today. A source said that there were certain aspects about which they were unhappy, and these were being run past their lawyers.