Pay promised, Zimbabwe strike nears end
Zimbabwe's cricketers have been assured they will be paid in full in the next 10 days, according to a senior player. Should the salaries come through, resumption of the domestic competition will take place as soon as February 10, with a twenty-over tournament in preparation for the World Twenty20 later this month.
A meeting was held between players, technical staff and Zimbabwe Cricket officials at Harare Sports Club to resolve the strike which has put Zimbabwe's domestic season on hold for more than a month. According to a ZC press release, ZC chairman Peter Chingoka said that arrangements had been made to "pay all the outstanding salaries and match fees". A meeting on Monday will decide details of a training camp ahead of the World Twenty20 which starts in March.
ZC could have the money to pay players thanks to an ICC loan they had applied for, which was discussed at this week's ICC meeting in Dubai. 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.
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.