Heath Streak: calling off the dispute © Getty Images
A line has finally been drawn under the long-standing dispute between Zimbabwe's rebel players and their cricket board, after it was announced the players would be withdrawing from the alternative dispute-resolution process that had been set up in July to assist them with their case.

"I have advised all parties that the tribunal has been dissolved," said John Traicos, the former Zimbabwean spinner and chairman of the tribunal. He was acting on the instructions of the players' lawyer, Chris Venturas, who confirmed that his clients no longer wished to go ahead with the process.

It is clear that the rebels had little faith that the tribunal gave them any realistic chance of success and that they had grown weary after almost eight months of battling. "They have no trust in former ZCU officials to pay compensation or to change their selection policies," a source told The Times. "They feel disenchanted with their lawyer in Zimbabwe, their families have had enough of the uncertainty and they feel that the arbitration process would be lengthy and expensive."

While the announcement brings the dispute to an end, it is unlikely that the senior players involved, led by Heath Streak, will return to the side to play against England. "We are due to meet together in a day or two and will issue a joint statement on our future plans," Trevor Gripper, one of the three remaining rebels, told AFP. "Basically, we couldn't afford to go through with the tribunal. It would have been extremely expensive."

The tribunal had been established following the breakdown in communications with the players and the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (now Zimbabwe Cricket), which came to a head with the removal of Streak as national captain. The ZCU was accused of racism by the players, but earlier this month it was cleared of all such charges by the ICC.

The tribunal had consisted of three members. Norman Arendse was nominated by Zimbabwe Cricket and Justice Hungwe was chosen by the players, with both parties agreeing to Traicos's appointment as chairman.