Zimbabwe players to discuss resumption with ZC
Zimbabwe's players will meet with management today to discuss the resumption of the domestic league. It is believed the talks will be centered on payment of salaries, which Zimbabwe's cricketers have not received since last November and has since led to their strike action.
Zimbabwe Cricket may be in a position to remunerate the players, if its request for a loan from ICC is granted. ZC chairman, Peter Chingoka, and MD, Wilfred Mukondiwa, have returned from the board meeting in Dubai, in which the board is understood to have been in favour of the draft proposal on the ICC's restructure, and it is widely expected they have positive news about the US$3 million requested from the governing body.
The money, along with a sponsorship deal from potato chip company Lay's, will not cover ZC's entire debt of up to US$18 million, but it should allow the board to compensate players and coaches, and conduct matches. Should matches kick off, Zimbabwe are likely to begin with their twenty-over competition in preparation for next month's World Twenty20 and not continue where they left off, in first-class and fifty-over cricket, immediately.
Zimbabwe have not played international cricket since September, when they were visited by Pakistan and then had three series put on the backburner. Sri Lanka's tour to Zimbabwe, scheduled for last October, was postponed due to lack of funds, while a limited-overs series against Afghanistan that was due to take place in January and an offer to play off a one-off Test against South Africa next week were both cancelled because of the player boycott.
No domestic cricket tournaments have been played in Zimbabwe since mid-December when the players decided to go on strike over non-payment of dues. The boycott has left Zimbabwe woefully short of match practice ahead of a major tournament. Although the players are eager to restart their programme, they have stuck to their position of "no pay, no play" thus far and insisted they will not waver from it.
With some money coming in, they may take the field again, if only for as long as the cash lasts. Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe's captain, tweeted yesterday in anticipation of the meeting: "Big day 2moro [sic] meeting our chairman and MD of ZC. Hopefully on the right path so players and technical staff can continue what we love doing."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent