Zimbabwe Cricket pays its workers but…

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Simba Rushwaya

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has paid outstanding monies owed to players and staff members after getting a bailout from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The Tawengwa Mukhuhlani—led ZC this week paid the outstanding salaries and senior players who have been leading a mutiny against the cricket body are beginning to soften judging from statements by former skipper Brendan Taylor who indicated that cricket “is moving forward.”

Darlington Majonga, the ZC spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday they had paid their staff adding that it is still a long way to go before the tempestuous environment is over.

“Zimbabwe Cricket has settled all monies owed to current staff and players, including match fees, thanks to an interim arrangement with the International Cricket Council to fast-track an exceptional payment specifically for staff and players under a controlled spending plan.

“While this has obviously brought welcome relief to the current staff and players, we are working on long-term solutions that require us to implement austerity measures that include restructuring and aggressively re-aligning our cost structure. ZC and ICC remain committed to working positively together to forge a sustainable cricket future for Zimbabwe,” Majonga said.

Cricket has been in the intensive care unit due to critical absence of funds leading to some of the senior players shunning the Chevrons. The team was last month humiliated 5-0 by Pakistan in a five One Day International (ODI) series after fielding a largely depleted side with no international exposure.

ZC was reeling under a $14,3 million debt, but after paying its workers, it appears normalcy might return to the game with Taylor indicating in media reports that he was ready to play for Zimbabwe again.

Taylor was one of the five senior players who sat out of the T20 tri-series involving Australia and Pakistan and the subsequent ODI series against the Pakistan because of non-payment of salaries and match fees. The other players were Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams.

The ICC recently released funds to ensure that outstanding salaries and player payments can be made. The players were owed four months’ salaries and match fees backdating from August last year.

Taylor was quoted in the media saying: “It’s time to get back to work at the start of August and prepare for the two very big series in South Africa and Bangladesh. I’m looking forward to that and drawing a line in the sand and moving forward.”

If players decide to follow Taylor’s lead, Zimbabwe could be back to full strength by the time they tour South Africa at the end of September. They are also slated to tour Bangladesh in October.

There have been vehement calls from several fronts for the local board to step down, but they have a full backing from the ICC.

The world cricket governing body, say they do not see the need for any intervention in the affairs of ZC and, instead, they are going to empower those in charge of the domestic game to ensure they revive a sport that has massive potential.

The ICC say the Government, or any other parties, have no obligation to intervene in the affairs of Zimbabwe Cricket because the issues which are weighing down the sport right can be resolved through a road map they have structured.