Zimbabwe news April 7, 2013

Zimbabwe players threaten boycott over contract issue

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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.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on April 8, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    players should be paid for their work even if the team is losing. firstly considering that some players are bread-winners, ZC can't continue killing the game.the admin department should rather be trimmed just because there are a lot of unqualified people in admin.how come the admin is paying themselves numerous amounts of monies and yet most of them don't even know how the game goes.if Z.C wants to keep the game alive, then they have to wake up.it's high time our national team starts winning games.

  • on April 8, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    Playing Test Cricket for your country should be motivation enough. Money will follow you when you can prove yourself. Some Bangladeshi players have played minor county leagues in england at almost no pay-barely recovering living costs there but they did it to learn to play not for the money. If the players show outstanding performances representing Zimbabwe then County Cricket, IPL, Big Bash will pay you enough to retire on. Prove yourselves internationally then start complaining about payment. Help make your board rich by performing and generating interest in your country. I see barely 3-4 international standard players in this team. Passion for the sport itself and the opportunity to represent ones country should be the reason to play not money

  • Timmuh on April 7, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    This sort of problem is continually going to hit the poorer nations. And thanks to the situation outside cticket as much as inside, Zimbabwe are going to remain a poor nation for many years yet. The quick answer would be to make the franchise contracts a full year contract. The problem is neither ZC or the franchises have the money to keep paying these players out of season. And Zimbabwe is not in a position to pay players highly, the lure of refusing a contract and taking bigger money elsewhere will always be in play.

    grahaam reminds us that funds have recently been allocated to ZC, among others, but a one-off payment (well, three years guaranteed) can't really be put to long-term recurrent expenditure such as contract expansions. If that is where the money goes, there is nothing for a plan to get out of a mess not entirely of ZC's making.

  • 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 !!!!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • on April 8, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    players should be paid for their work even if the team is losing. firstly considering that some players are bread-winners, ZC can't continue killing the game.the admin department should rather be trimmed just because there are a lot of unqualified people in admin.how come the admin is paying themselves numerous amounts of monies and yet most of them don't even know how the game goes.if Z.C wants to keep the game alive, then they have to wake up.it's high time our national team starts winning games.

  • on April 8, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    Playing Test Cricket for your country should be motivation enough. Money will follow you when you can prove yourself. Some Bangladeshi players have played minor county leagues in england at almost no pay-barely recovering living costs there but they did it to learn to play not for the money. If the players show outstanding performances representing Zimbabwe then County Cricket, IPL, Big Bash will pay you enough to retire on. Prove yourselves internationally then start complaining about payment. Help make your board rich by performing and generating interest in your country. I see barely 3-4 international standard players in this team. Passion for the sport itself and the opportunity to represent ones country should be the reason to play not money

  • Timmuh on April 7, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    This sort of problem is continually going to hit the poorer nations. And thanks to the situation outside cticket as much as inside, Zimbabwe are going to remain a poor nation for many years yet. The quick answer would be to make the franchise contracts a full year contract. The problem is neither ZC or the franchises have the money to keep paying these players out of season. And Zimbabwe is not in a position to pay players highly, the lure of refusing a contract and taking bigger money elsewhere will always be in play.

    grahaam reminds us that funds have recently been allocated to ZC, among others, but a one-off payment (well, three years guaranteed) can't really be put to long-term recurrent expenditure such as contract expansions. If that is where the money goes, there is nothing for a plan to get out of a mess not entirely of ZC's making.

  • 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 !!!!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Albert_cambell on April 8, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    Oh no. Another strike from the players. This is going to decline zimbabwe cricket. In 2004 when they were about to peak, players strike spoiled the team. Now when they are about to find a decent team, another strike on the cards. I think our cricket board should help our neighbours. Otherwise we are going to lose good cricketing nation.

  • Meety on April 7, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    Bangladesh do seem to get to play against internally restless teams a fair bit! @ grahaam on (April 7, 2013, 20:35 GMT) - I HOPE you are right re: your last sentence, but feel it to be probable!

  • on April 7, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    tough times for the cricket community in zimbabwe

  • grahaam on April 7, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    The WICB and Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have been given a financial boost by signing an agreement with the ICC under the Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme (TAPP), which is aimed at developing more competitive teams in international cricket. Under this programme, the WICB will be awarded US$3 million and Zimbabwe Cricket US$1.5 million over the next three years.

    A very recent announcement , I hope ZC have not wasted this money on cars and office furnishings, instead of developing a more competitive team.

  • 5wombats on April 7, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    @Jadejafan on (April 7, 2013, 14:39 GMT) a remarkably poorly informed comment. Zimbabwean cricketers want to play cricket and as such they deserve our support - not ridicule. It is the fault of the board and even then the ZC has it's hands tied by the strange politics that go on there. DO not compare Zimbabwe to Ireland again their circumstances cannot be compared.

  • Shajadul on April 7, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    First of all, players needs to have salary to support their family and focus on cricket. ICC should come ahead and support ZIM board with some money for good cause. I hope players don't boycott and the problem solves shortly.

  • borhans on April 7, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    It seems number of cricket playing nations are reducing day by day . ..why ICC can't help these country .FIFA helping many others around the world .where the money of ICC goes

  • on April 7, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    I imagine a similar margin of defeats against Bangladesh. They may win one t20/odi.

  • Jadejafan on April 7, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    Ireland are much more deserving to play Cricket than Zimbabwe who seem to not be going anywhere.

  • Jadejafan on April 7, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    Ireland are much more deserving to play Cricket than Zimbabwe who seem to not be going anywhere.

  • on April 7, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    I imagine a similar margin of defeats against Bangladesh. They may win one t20/odi.

  • borhans on April 7, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    It seems number of cricket playing nations are reducing day by day . ..why ICC can't help these country .FIFA helping many others around the world .where the money of ICC goes

  • Shajadul on April 7, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    First of all, players needs to have salary to support their family and focus on cricket. ICC should come ahead and support ZIM board with some money for good cause. I hope players don't boycott and the problem solves shortly.

  • 5wombats on April 7, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    @Jadejafan on (April 7, 2013, 14:39 GMT) a remarkably poorly informed comment. Zimbabwean cricketers want to play cricket and as such they deserve our support - not ridicule. It is the fault of the board and even then the ZC has it's hands tied by the strange politics that go on there. DO not compare Zimbabwe to Ireland again their circumstances cannot be compared.

  • grahaam on April 7, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    The WICB and Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have been given a financial boost by signing an agreement with the ICC under the Targeted Assistance and Performance Programme (TAPP), which is aimed at developing more competitive teams in international cricket. Under this programme, the WICB will be awarded US$3 million and Zimbabwe Cricket US$1.5 million over the next three years.

    A very recent announcement , I hope ZC have not wasted this money on cars and office furnishings, instead of developing a more competitive team.

  • on April 7, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    tough times for the cricket community in zimbabwe

  • Meety on April 7, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    Bangladesh do seem to get to play against internally restless teams a fair bit! @ grahaam on (April 7, 2013, 20:35 GMT) - I HOPE you are right re: your last sentence, but feel it to be probable!

  • Albert_cambell on April 8, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    Oh no. Another strike from the players. This is going to decline zimbabwe cricket. In 2004 when they were about to peak, players strike spoiled the team. Now when they are about to find a decent team, another strike on the cards. I think our cricket board should help our neighbours. Otherwise we are going to lose good cricketing nation.

  • 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.