Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent
Zimbabwe's cricketers have agreed to call off their player strike, almost two months after the boycott began. ESPNcricinfo has learned Zimbabwe Cricket has obtained the funds to pay outstanding salaries, and players will be compensated at the earliest opportunity.
Elias Zvimba, the newly appointed secretary-general of Zimbabwe's six-month-old player association, confirmed the strike was off when he told the Daily News, "We can say the strike is now a thing of the past. As soon as all the players get their money in their accounts, ZC now have right to call those players for camp, and all the leagues as well should start as soon as possible because everyone will have been capacitated to come for work. There's no need to keep worrying about the strike."
"Players are training hard and on Monday we should be back as a squad again," captain Brendan Taylor said. "We hope payments will clear tomorrow."
In preparation for the World Twenty20, Zimbabwe's cricketers will start practice matches on Monday. There has been no confirmation if the domestic T20 tournament, which was due to begin on February 10 but was postponed because of the ongoing strike, will kick off before the tournament in Bangladesh. ZC will only work on a new schedule once the players have received the money in their bank accounts.
Although Zimbabwe's players are expecting to receive their dues from November to February, Zvimbi said they were also being careful to assess whether fees will be paid in future, because if they are not it could lead to another protest. "What we are looking at now is the way forward, whether we are going to get something in March or we are going to face the same situation again. We'll try to engage them (ZC) and find out what contingent plans are in place."
The domestic T20 competition was supposed to start this Monday, but the players refused to end their strike until they were paid. ZC, struggling to keep its sponsorship in tact, asked the ICC for a loan that would add to the US$ 18 million it owes the ICC. It is not clear where the funds have been procured from, but ICC is the likely benefactor.