Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town
Zimbabwe batsman Malcolm Waller has withdrawn from the team's ODI squad citing, through correspondence between his lawyer and Zimbabwe Cricket, labour-practice concerns. Waller had been part of Zimbabwe's squad for the T20 tri-series in Harare, playing in Zimbabwe's last two games against Australia and Pakistan, and was also named in the squad for the ODIs against Pakistan.
While Waller had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing, ZC confirmed his withdrawal and correspondence with his lawyer.
Waller's departure strikes another blow to Zimbabwe's already depleted reserves, taking the number of former regulars missing from the side to eight. Injuries have ruled Kyle Jarvis and Solomon Mire out from the ongoing matches against Pakistan, while five other players - including Brendan Taylor and former captain Graeme Cremer - are "unavailable" according to Zimbabwe's convenor of selectors Walter Chawaguta.
Sikandar Raza was the only one of the "unavailable" players to take part in the final rounds of the domestic Logan Cup competition in April and May, and has been the only one to have secured any game time elsewhere, turning out for the Montreal Tigers in Global T20 Canada.
News of Waller's frustrated departure comes soon after it emerged that the Pakistan team touring Zimbabwe had to delay plans to travel from Harare to Bulawayo ahead of the first ODI on Friday because their accommodation had not been booked.
ZC has been in financial crisis for some time now, having had to postpone domestic tournaments and struggled to pay players and employees. A report by ICC's senior events operations manager Simon Jelowitz after the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in March also mentioned that "throughout the tournament a number of casual staff, mainly net bowlers, were complaining that they were either not receiving money or being underpaid and as a result threatened to withdraw their resources," according to a story in the local media.
Jelowitz' critical report notwithstanding, ZC does at least have the promise of some help from the ICC now, though that is dependent on ZC's continued compliance with an agreed operational plan.
The ICC's help has not been able to stem the player exodus at ZC, however, leaving the team increasingly shorn of experience.