Zimbabwe news August 16, 2013

Zimbabwe players boycott training, form union

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Zimbabwe's players have taken the bold step of forming a players' union in a bid to present a united front in salary negotiations. They have also boycotted training ahead of the series against Pakistan, which begins next week, until their demands are met.

However, ESPNcricinfo has learned that at least three players have decided to resume training*.

Wilfred Mukondiwa, the MD of Zimbabwe Cricket, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that a players' association was in the works for the last few months but he did not expect one to be formed this quickly. He said ZC have been in talks with the new body and expects a resolution over payment issues later today. Mukondiwa remained confident the series against Pakistan would take place "as planned."

The players, who could not be reached for comment, are speaking through five senior members of the squad - Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya and Vusi Sibanda - who have been in meetings with Mukondiwa and ZC "since Wednesday." They are believed to be asking for match fees in addition to the salaries they receive on central contracts.

Mukondiwa confirmed a Zimbabwe Independent report which said players want US$5,000 per Test, $3,000 per ODI and US$1,500 per T20. He did not reveal whether ZC had agreed to pay those amounts, but said the "door was open for negotiation."

ZC have made the players an offer which they had taken to the union. Mukondiwa expected they would accept the offer and said the only issue which was yet to be agreed on was that of World Cup fees. The Independent reported that the players want 10% of the proceeds ZC receives from next year's World T20.

Mukondiwa also admitted that players have not been paid their July salaries due to a liquidity problem in ZC. While Mukondiwa said the five-ODI visit from India "brought in money", ZC "has commitments" and was not able to meet all of them. He said the players were given an assurance they would be paid soon. Jason Gillespie, who has coached Midwest Rhinos in Zimbabwe, tweeted: Very pleasing to see the Zimbabwe cricketers form a players union. Hopefully ZC will realise this is a very positive move. #zimbabwecricket

This is not the first time salaries have caused problems in Zimbabwe cricket. The players threatened a boycott before their April series against Bangladesh in protest over what they considered an unsatisfactory daily allowance for non-centrally contracted players. Then, Craig Ervine, who was not on a central contract, chose to play club cricket in the UK, instead of accepting a winter contract in Zimbabwe which was believed to be worth US$100 a week.

Now, the players are demanding compensation they believe is in line with what their counterparts in other countries are earning. While they wait for a decision to be made, they have not trained as a squad. Some have busied themselves with independent programmes but most have been involved with the formation of the union.

Zimbabwean players have never had a successfully operational players association despite many attempts at one. The 2004 white-player walkout was one such aborted attempt but the major difference between that issue and the current one is that this time, the battle is not around race, and players across the colour divide are united in their attempts to confront the board.

Mukondiwa said ZC will release a statement as soon as a resolution is reached. Zimbabwe host Pakistan for two T20s, three ODIs and two Tests, starting next Friday.

* August 16, 2013 12.55 GMT: The story has been updated with the players' decision to train

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY ZCFOutkast on | August 17, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    Fine set up a union, but let your demands be justified by your performances - spot on Garikai! It should be enough if the boys' current packages are better than the rebels had. In comparison to other qualified professionals, what the players are actually earning currently is more than they should be receiving. It's the voices of divisive external forces such as Gillespie who pass through planting dangerous thoughts in these boys' heads!

    The only finger that can be pointed at ZC is delays in paying salaries that's all. ZC has cleaned up by restructuring and reducing admin staff by laying off people(compensation). They must just nationalise the cricket assets in line with govt policy which should free up avoidable rent etc.

    ZC, DO NOT GIVE IN! Rather make a commitment to pay all franchise players timely&better(loyal, indigenous ones only); plus resuscitate and expand club cricket throughout the country. If the players are genuine they would rather fight for the benefit of all. Cont..

  • POSTED BY bhriguaneja on | August 16, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    It does the moral of a team a lot of harm when things like these happen. I thought most Zimbabwean players are talented, they just lack the confidence to win games.

  • POSTED BY ZCFOutkast on | August 16, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    ..Cont. Putting things to them in that way should give them a reality check. Better remuneration will be spread to all professional cricket players in Zim. The only privilege you will have as national team players is offseason salaries, while non-national team players get very little. The figures these boys are asking for are unrealistic in Zim's climate.

    If they don't want then extend the improved franchise conditions to all players, many of whom will be elated, and select a different squad from there: Batsmen: Matsikenyeri(c), Kasuza, Mutizwa, Chari, Chibhabha, Masvaure, Zhuwao, Kasteni, Dabengwa(vc) Seamers: Ncube, Mpofu, Mupariwa, Panyangara, Tiripano, Musoko Spinners: Mugava, Nyumbu Keepers: Sauramba, Mayavo

    Any XI from these can also respectably lose 5-0 to India in exactly the same way! If they won't budge, simply select other players ZC and give them the noisy players' contracts! I say improvements for all franchise players instead. National players MUST FIRST EARN A RAISE!!

  • POSTED BY Zimfan9966 on | August 16, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    These guys should start winning games before they want a raise on their salaries, they cant compare with other cricketers around the world bcoz other teams win games. WIN GAMES AND U WILL EARN MORE or ZIM can canl it quits on cricket. These guys results as cricketers is embarassing considering most of them have played more thand 20 internationals

  • POSTED BY CricketFANonly on | August 16, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    They played with india but now refusing to play with pak on same salary.. nothing to do with pak but they think they cant play close matches on low income.. 

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | August 16, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Cricinfo turning into a gossip page...its their personal matter shuldnt be reporting drama only talk about cricket

  • POSTED BY kc69 on | August 16, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    Well first of all what Zimbabwe cricket can do at this moment is provide accordingly to the needs of the players with the help from ICC or any other richer boards, then provide a timeframe within which the team has to prove their worth, failing to which their pay will be downgraded. This would give an equal opportunity for both sides. In case they start playing well the revenue earnings will increase by itself for the board.

  • POSTED BY threeslipsandagully on | August 16, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    If Zimbabwe wants to hold onto their players, this absolutely needs to happen. Gary Ballance has been criticised by some for opting to play for England over Zimbabwe, but England is a guaranteed payday. The fact of the matter is that cricket is a professional sport and it needs to be worth players' while financially to play, otherwise they're going to seek out opportunities elsewhere. For some perspective, Craig Ervine was set to earn less in the Zimbabwean winter than the unemployed get in the UK.

  • POSTED BY rajaram1105 on | August 16, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    Let us hope they resolve it amicably to both sides for the good of the game in the country.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    ICC should set a minimum for all international players. then the would not have this problem.

  • POSTED BY ZCFOutkast on | August 17, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    Fine set up a union, but let your demands be justified by your performances - spot on Garikai! It should be enough if the boys' current packages are better than the rebels had. In comparison to other qualified professionals, what the players are actually earning currently is more than they should be receiving. It's the voices of divisive external forces such as Gillespie who pass through planting dangerous thoughts in these boys' heads!

    The only finger that can be pointed at ZC is delays in paying salaries that's all. ZC has cleaned up by restructuring and reducing admin staff by laying off people(compensation). They must just nationalise the cricket assets in line with govt policy which should free up avoidable rent etc.

    ZC, DO NOT GIVE IN! Rather make a commitment to pay all franchise players timely&better(loyal, indigenous ones only); plus resuscitate and expand club cricket throughout the country. If the players are genuine they would rather fight for the benefit of all. Cont..

  • POSTED BY bhriguaneja on | August 16, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    It does the moral of a team a lot of harm when things like these happen. I thought most Zimbabwean players are talented, they just lack the confidence to win games.

  • POSTED BY ZCFOutkast on | August 16, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    ..Cont. Putting things to them in that way should give them a reality check. Better remuneration will be spread to all professional cricket players in Zim. The only privilege you will have as national team players is offseason salaries, while non-national team players get very little. The figures these boys are asking for are unrealistic in Zim's climate.

    If they don't want then extend the improved franchise conditions to all players, many of whom will be elated, and select a different squad from there: Batsmen: Matsikenyeri(c), Kasuza, Mutizwa, Chari, Chibhabha, Masvaure, Zhuwao, Kasteni, Dabengwa(vc) Seamers: Ncube, Mpofu, Mupariwa, Panyangara, Tiripano, Musoko Spinners: Mugava, Nyumbu Keepers: Sauramba, Mayavo

    Any XI from these can also respectably lose 5-0 to India in exactly the same way! If they won't budge, simply select other players ZC and give them the noisy players' contracts! I say improvements for all franchise players instead. National players MUST FIRST EARN A RAISE!!

  • POSTED BY Zimfan9966 on | August 16, 2013, 16:06 GMT

    These guys should start winning games before they want a raise on their salaries, they cant compare with other cricketers around the world bcoz other teams win games. WIN GAMES AND U WILL EARN MORE or ZIM can canl it quits on cricket. These guys results as cricketers is embarassing considering most of them have played more thand 20 internationals

  • POSTED BY CricketFANonly on | August 16, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    They played with india but now refusing to play with pak on same salary.. nothing to do with pak but they think they cant play close matches on low income.. 

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | August 16, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Cricinfo turning into a gossip page...its their personal matter shuldnt be reporting drama only talk about cricket

  • POSTED BY kc69 on | August 16, 2013, 14:54 GMT

    Well first of all what Zimbabwe cricket can do at this moment is provide accordingly to the needs of the players with the help from ICC or any other richer boards, then provide a timeframe within which the team has to prove their worth, failing to which their pay will be downgraded. This would give an equal opportunity for both sides. In case they start playing well the revenue earnings will increase by itself for the board.

  • POSTED BY threeslipsandagully on | August 16, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    If Zimbabwe wants to hold onto their players, this absolutely needs to happen. Gary Ballance has been criticised by some for opting to play for England over Zimbabwe, but England is a guaranteed payday. The fact of the matter is that cricket is a professional sport and it needs to be worth players' while financially to play, otherwise they're going to seek out opportunities elsewhere. For some perspective, Craig Ervine was set to earn less in the Zimbabwean winter than the unemployed get in the UK.

  • POSTED BY rajaram1105 on | August 16, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    Let us hope they resolve it amicably to both sides for the good of the game in the country.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    ICC should set a minimum for all international players. then the would not have this problem.

  • POSTED BY Chetan007 on | August 16, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Zimbabwe Cricket should have asked ICC for some more matches against India, Australia, England, Sri lanka and Pakistan. If not with international side than atleast with the fringe side. So that they can earn more and the players should not suffer any financial issues.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    first these players should start winning tournaments against big teams I haven't seen them doing that at any tournament upto now

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | August 16, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Sad state of affairs. These men are shockingly underpaid. It's one thing to feel excluded from the riches that other international cricketers are making from doing the same job, but it's entirely another when they're not even making a living wage.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    1. "10% of the proceeds ZC receives"!... That's all what the players are asking for! Is that too much, for participation in the World Cups?

    2. The Match fees Zim players are asking for also sounds so reasonable! When we look at the "contracts", "match fees" and "bonuses", the players of some other countries are receiving, the figures look even more reasonable.

    3. Compared to Pak's unfortunate plight of NOT having any home series, Zim Cricket's officials should be in a better financial position and can manage things better!

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    What! I am shocked that despite their horrible performance in the just past series against India these players think they deserve more money. Considering what the rest of us are earning these people are like pampered princes and they have not won a series in a long time. If they want to earn a raise they have to earn it which is going to be hard because their gate takings have declined due to their poor performance. It is very much likely that most of the Pakistan games are going to be played in empty grounds because nobody expects us to them to win. Also given the political limbo at the moment with no cabinet in place I wonder who exactly these people are planning to negotiate with because ZC is broke. If they keep on doing this they will join rugby, in the dustbin of may haves and lost dreams.

    My advice, quit sulking boys, and earn your keep, personally I am fed up of your pathetic spineless performance on the field.

  • POSTED BY P.BIPULKUMAR on | August 16, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    Decision of the players body is right . But ,Cricketers have to justify with the on field performance against top nations , not against Bangladesh at home or on the off field performance .

  • POSTED BY MurtaMac on | August 16, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Was looking fwd to some cricket but since Pakistan's selectors announced a horrible squad with the likes of tried and tested flops Faisal Iqbal and Khurram Manzoor, I'd be happy if the ZIM boys boycott this series. The way I see it, ZIM players are being underpaid and that is more important to sort out than a series whose result everyone knows with runs for flops who will fail in future series i.e. Manzoor and Iqbal failing miserably against SL and SA.

    Go ZIM boys!!

  • POSTED BY Surajdon9 on | August 16, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    Good Move By Player..Government and Cricket board must be Responsible towards players and official needs...

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  • POSTED BY Surajdon9 on | August 16, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    Good Move By Player..Government and Cricket board must be Responsible towards players and official needs...

  • POSTED BY MurtaMac on | August 16, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    Was looking fwd to some cricket but since Pakistan's selectors announced a horrible squad with the likes of tried and tested flops Faisal Iqbal and Khurram Manzoor, I'd be happy if the ZIM boys boycott this series. The way I see it, ZIM players are being underpaid and that is more important to sort out than a series whose result everyone knows with runs for flops who will fail in future series i.e. Manzoor and Iqbal failing miserably against SL and SA.

    Go ZIM boys!!

  • POSTED BY P.BIPULKUMAR on | August 16, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    Decision of the players body is right . But ,Cricketers have to justify with the on field performance against top nations , not against Bangladesh at home or on the off field performance .

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    What! I am shocked that despite their horrible performance in the just past series against India these players think they deserve more money. Considering what the rest of us are earning these people are like pampered princes and they have not won a series in a long time. If they want to earn a raise they have to earn it which is going to be hard because their gate takings have declined due to their poor performance. It is very much likely that most of the Pakistan games are going to be played in empty grounds because nobody expects us to them to win. Also given the political limbo at the moment with no cabinet in place I wonder who exactly these people are planning to negotiate with because ZC is broke. If they keep on doing this they will join rugby, in the dustbin of may haves and lost dreams.

    My advice, quit sulking boys, and earn your keep, personally I am fed up of your pathetic spineless performance on the field.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    1. "10% of the proceeds ZC receives"!... That's all what the players are asking for! Is that too much, for participation in the World Cups?

    2. The Match fees Zim players are asking for also sounds so reasonable! When we look at the "contracts", "match fees" and "bonuses", the players of some other countries are receiving, the figures look even more reasonable.

    3. Compared to Pak's unfortunate plight of NOT having any home series, Zim Cricket's officials should be in a better financial position and can manage things better!

  • POSTED BY wrenx on | August 16, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    Sad state of affairs. These men are shockingly underpaid. It's one thing to feel excluded from the riches that other international cricketers are making from doing the same job, but it's entirely another when they're not even making a living wage.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    first these players should start winning tournaments against big teams I haven't seen them doing that at any tournament upto now

  • POSTED BY Chetan007 on | August 16, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    Zimbabwe Cricket should have asked ICC for some more matches against India, Australia, England, Sri lanka and Pakistan. If not with international side than atleast with the fringe side. So that they can earn more and the players should not suffer any financial issues.

  • POSTED BY on | August 16, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    ICC should set a minimum for all international players. then the would not have this problem.

  • POSTED BY rajaram1105 on | August 16, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    Let us hope they resolve it amicably to both sides for the good of the game in the country.