Sean Williams likely to sign contract
Allrounder Sean Williams has reached an understanding with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and agreed to sign a contract with the board. ESPNcricinfo has learned that Williams, who had made himself unavailable to play the first Test against Pakistan because of the ongoing payments issue, was satisfied with an offer made to him on Thursday and will commit to the country in future.
Williams told sources close to the team he never planned on turning his back on Zimbabwe and that people had misunderstood his reasons for not playing the first Test. Williams was not on a central contract but a lower-grade one and reportedly had an issue with the exact amount, rather than the non-payment. He is also believed to have secured an offer in the BPL, where many of his team-mates including Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura already play.
The rest of the Zimbabwe players are expected to receive some money before the second Test against Pakistan, as ZC seeks to prevent the threatened boycott. The newly-formed players' union, of which Williams is a member, remained adamant it would strike if they were not paid their outstanding dues, which include July and August salaries.
Though the players had said before the first Test that if, "even one of us doesn't want to play, we will all not play," they allowed Williams to act unilaterally because the rest of the group agreed to take ZC's word they would be paid. The board has introduced drastic cost-cutting measures, including moving the second Test from Bulawayo to Harare, to be able to foot the bill.
Williams' availability will not guarantee him a place in the starting XI, though he was likely to have played the first match. He is a regular fixture in Zimbabwe's limited-overs side but has only played one Test and the performance of the team in this match may make it difficult to make room for him.
With all the batsmen getting starts in Harare, and Brendan Taylor likely to replace Richmond Mutambami after returning from paternity leave, Williams would have been considered in the place of one of Malcolm Waller, Sikandar Raza or Prosper Utseya. The first two batted well while Utseya had a decent return with the ball. It could give Zimbabwe a welcome selection conundrum for the second Test.