Contract negotiations still ongoing October 4, 2005

Zimbabwe players still without contracts

Cricinfo staff
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Stuart Carlisle has been told by ZC that he has been retired © Getty Images
Zimbabwe's leading cricketers are still playing without contracts while the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers' Association (ZPCA) tries to secure a new deal with the governing body.

All the players' contracts expired on August 31 and they participated in the closing stages of the one-day international triangular series with India and New Zealand and the two Tests against India "on trust".

The players' representative Clive Field told CricInfo on Tuesday that the situation was not ideal, even though progress was being made in negotiations with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC), assisted by the mediation of respected Harare human resources expert George Makings.

"We are all agreed on the need for contracts to be finalised as soon as possible," said Field, "and ZC want them finalised by the end of the week. We are hoping to get the new contracts drafted by Friday, although Makings is of the opinion that these deadlines might not be realistic."

The ZPCA are not trying to get a larger monthly retainer for the players, but are focusing instead on protecting these salaries from the hyperinflation that is currently bedevilling Zimbabwe and also trying to get better match fees and medical aid for the players.

"I know the process has been slower than we had hoped, but there is no deadlock, the process is on and still moving," said Field, adding that Barney Rogers and Stuart Carlisle, who each had their contract offers unilaterally withdrawn by ZC at the beginning of September, have both been told "they have been retired," by ZC.

Neither player has requested assistance from the ZPCA in returning to the fold. Neil Ferreira, who made his Test debut in August against New Zealand, is back in the Zimbabwe squad after he had originally been dealt the same harsh treatment as Rogers and Carlisle.

According to Field, "an apology for an emotional outburst got Neil's contract offer reinstated. The ZPCA still feel the situation is unsatisfactory, however, because the three players were punished for outbursts which were made at a private players' meeting. But we can only fight it if the players come to us and ask us to help them get back into the fold, like Ferreira did."