Zimbabwe news April 9, 2013

Ervine refuses winter contract, opts for club cricket in UK


Craig Ervine, Zimbabwe's leading run-scorer across all three formats on their recent tour of West Indies, has refused a winter contract and will not be part of the series against Bangladesh. Ervine has instead opted to play club cricket in the UK. Meanwhile, the threatened player boycott has been averted after eight players signed winter contracts.

He is one of three players who decided not to take up Zimbabwe Cricket's offer. The other two, Sean Williams and uncapped Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza, are still in discussions with the board.

All-rounder Keegan Meth and bowlers Shingi Masakadza and Tendai Chatara, who were a part of the squad that toured Caribbean, are among the players who have signed the winter contracts. The team has resumed training, after only the centrally contracted players took to the field while negotiations were on-going.

Ervine, who has played four Tests since Zimbabwe made their Test comeback in 2011, has not made the reason for his decision public, but a source close to the players told ESPNcricinfo that the money offered by ZC amounted to only US$100 a week. He is likely to earn at least double that overseas. His brother, Sean, walked away from Zimbabwe Cricket, seeking stability in the UK, and there are fears more players could do the same in the future.

Though Zimbabwe's preparations for the Bangladesh series, which begins in nine days, are back on track, the financial situation in ZC is still unresolved. An insider revealed that although the centrally contracted players "don't have many complaints" over what they earn, the situation among franchise players is dire.

Franchise cricketers are contracted for seven months of the year on low salaries, which according to one player only "pays for the rent". They are left to fend for themselves for the other five months and most of them try to play overseas in that time. However, since ZC tries to schedule international fixtures during the winter, they often have to choose between higher income from club cricket and playing for their country, where they only earn match fees.

A player, who did not want to named, said monies are often paid late or not at all. "Every single cricketer in Zimbabwe is owed money of some sort," he said. "We are due to be paid from our franchise contracts on the last day of the month. Sometimes by the 10th of the next month, we still don't have our money. Some people may say we are greedy, but we have bills to pay. It's sad that it pays more to play club cricket abroad than it does for the country, but that's the way it is."

With that in mind, those who have accepted winter contracts will be aware that they have signed up for some uncertainty. Their contracts will cover four tours, including the Bangladesh series, the three ODIs against India and series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Franchise cricketers will be given fresh contracts from September 1, while new central contracts will be announced in August.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Julian on April 11, 2013, 0:43 GMT

    $100 a week ?? your kidding these players are PROFESIONAL sportsman and devote all their time to practising and playing cricket. You'll get more on the DOLL ( welfare ) in Aus. Anyone who said these players should be playing for the love of the sport and their country tell me where is the love from the sport and country for them and before you make such foolish comments ask if you would go to work all day for nothing whilst your family starves. Since the player rebellion in 2004 it's been the same story when will it end !!! And to who ever claims "things will get better" 10 years of "board v player" disputes and a growing list of players heading overseas begs to differ!!!

  • Earl on April 10, 2013, 23:07 GMT

    Why is that the people who do the actual work are always the ones to sacrifice.Players should be the highest paid in any cricket organization.Not the head of the board or any executive.Most of them only create more problems.Player have to find work where they get paid enough to live a decent life.

  • thomas on April 10, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    I find is pretentious for people to come here judge professional sportsmen-it is still a livelihood for them. How do you expect them to work for a lower remuneration when they can make more elsewhere? Do people migrate to other countries if there is a job paying more? So why cannot cricketers do the same? It is not like they are soldiers took a mercenary job to harm their country. It is just a sport...chill

  • Eugene on April 10, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Craig Ervine has been a consistent performer at international level and had cemented his place in the middle order - his departure is a huge blow.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    Once again... Rainsford is sidelined... Zim's best bowler in the first class domestic circuit..

  • Andrew on April 10, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    @asiacricket1234 - No, $100 per week is not a lot in Zimbabwe. We don't have a local currency anymore so everything is in US$ - and most stuff is imported, so its expensive.

    Anyway, I agree with ZCF_Outkast - Sean's 1st class domestic form was terrible last season and the only reason he was our 'best batsman' on the WIndies tour was not because he was that good, but that guys who are normally reliable (Mawoyo, Hami, Brendan) were TERRIBLE for some reason. I squarely blame the lack of proper long from cricket for over a year and the fact that Grant Flower was left behind. So I do not think Ervine deserved a central contract and he should realise this.

    Zim will also suffer on this tour as Bangla have had much better practice over the last months while Zim has lost any momentum we had in 2011.

  • Farhan on April 10, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    Seetha may be $100 a week is enough in Zimbabwe? I do not think their currency is that strong. Anyway he shouldve chose his country not foreign club

  • mohammad on April 10, 2013, 8:58 GMT

    Zimbabwean government should fund Zimbabwean cricket.

  • ZCF on April 10, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    Craig should be grateful. Not long ago he was out of the team and his ODI performances gave him a chance to return to the Test squad as well despite being nothing short of pathetic at domestic FC level. The Bangladesh series would have given him a chance to cement his place and earn a contract a head of woeful Malcolm.

    Anyway judging by the manner of his dismissals, there were very little signs that long term he could cut it against decent attacks at this level. At least we know the bulk of batsmen we have under contract have the ability to score big(Mawoyo, Hami etc).

    My heart bleeds at the exclusion of Rainsford and Matsikenyeri! That arguably our best ODI seamer Mupariwa continues to be ignored while we retain expensive LOI bowlers(Jarvis, Vitori), and add some more expensive ones(Shingi & Meth) is a concern because those contracted are not competent across formats.

    ZC do realise that only four of those 18 available are specialist batsmen and one(Malcolm) a significant liability?

  • Mihir on April 10, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    Why don't ICC sack Zim bosses and take control of Zim Board till they find good people to govern Zimbabwe.

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