Waller saddened by player boycott

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket coach Andy Waller is hopeful the New Year will bring better times for the troubled game, which has been rocked once again by a dispute between players and the board.

The Zimbabwe national side will take part in March’s ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, but preparations have been dealt a heavy blow after players boycotted domestic matches at the weekend in protest against non-payment of salaries and match fees.

With domestic action only expected to resume on January 18, players have vowed to continue with the boycott if they are not paid their dues, a matter of major concern for national coach Waller.

Zimbabwe have been placed in Pool B at the World Twenty20 together with Ireland, Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates.

“Obviously it’s not an ideal situation and it’s not going to help,” Waller told the Daily News yesterday.

“But I’m sure once we get into the New Year things will improve. It’s very important to have the four-day games that the players are missing out, but it’s a different format altogether from what we are going to play in Bangladesh. We should have a bit of time though to prepare for the T20s next year.”

The team is set to resume camp in February after a domestic T20 tournament which will be used to select the provisional 30-man squad.

Meanwhile, Midwest Rhinos chief executive Kenyon Ziehl said he was looking forward to resumption of local cricket matches despite facing the same hardships as the players.

“We are actually in the same position with the players, we all have been going through extremely difficult times but I just think cricket has to be played while something is being worked out,” Ziehl said.

“There’s no match that’s coming up now, we will only be back in January and I believe there’s a big gap between now and next year. I hope things will corrected during the holidays.”

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