Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has been hit by a financial crunch which could affect salaries for all employees, including players. In a memo circulated within the board and seen by ESPNcricinfo, Nesta Vaki, ZC's head of Corporate Affairs and Human Resources, informed the staff that they will only receive half their October salaries at the end of the month and that the organisation will "do its best to rectify the situation by end November 2017".
Graeme Cremer, the Zimbabwe captain, offered his support to the board and said he and his men weren't really worried. "We know the position ZC is in, and the cash flow problem," he said on Saturday, ahead of the second Test against West Indies. "It won't affect the performance. The team and myself know the position ZC is in. It's not like guys won't get their money, it's just one of those things. It's a tough environment, but we know with Faizal that we'll get through that. It won't really affect us.
"It can be a challenge, but as Zimbabweans we've been through quite a lot. We're used to dealing with these sorts of things, and that's where I respect our team very much. In the way that guys will still pitch up, still wanting to do well for the country, no matter what issues we're having in our economy or in Zimbabwe cricket as a whole."
A senior board official said the memo was dated October 25 and that it was "an internal operational matter which we are dealing with and trying to resolve as soon as possible". The official refused to elaborate on the reasons for the cash-flow problems and maintained that with payments due on October 30, no salaries have been affected yet. Several sources, however, have said that they do not expect payments to be made in full.
ZC later confirmed in a release that the "decision to withhold part of the staff salaries was in order for ZC to balance its strained cash flows, and this course of action was advised to staff after ZC had exhausted all other possible alternatives".* The board's release also noted displeasure that a "confidential internal correspondence has been deliberately leaked to the media". "The situation is no different to any other company that is experiencing severe cash flow difficulties, and ZC's own legacy financial issues have been well publicised and are in the process of being addressed," the statement went on to say.
Though ZC's structure of corporate governance has improved significantly in recent months, it has also incurred some hefty costs. The ongoing two-Test series against West Indies in Bulawayo is set to be the board's biggest expense this month, and it has also spent money on hosting domestic competitions and upgrades for grounds to host the 2019 World Cup Qualifier next March.
The issue, however, has not had any effect on cricket in Zimbabwe. Last season, the Logan Cup, the country's first-class competition, was delayed several times after players opted to strike when salaries went unpaid.
*17.00GMT, October 27: The article was updated after ZC released a statement.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent