Zim cricketers' earnings revealed

HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) player earnings for the forthcoming 2014-15 season can be revealed today by the Daily News, with three players – captain Brendan Taylor, his deputy Hamilton Masakadza and ex-skipper Prosper Utseya – the highest earners on $ 6 000 salaries.

We can disclose that the cricketers have reclaimed their position as the country’s highest-earning sportsmen despite the sport still not completely out of the woods.  

Pace bowler Tendai Chatara, who was outstanding in his first full season of international cricket last term, is the biggest mover on $5 000 a month.

A product of ZC’s development programme, 23-year-old Chatara was introduced to cricket in Mutare’s high-density suburb of Dangamvura, where he grew up playing soccer with his friends in the streets.

He made both his ODI and Test against the West Indies in the Caribbean early last year, before going on to take over the mantle of Zimbabwe’s bowling spearhead after Kyle Jarvis’s premature retirement from international cricket.

The new contracts rolled out have five categories, but the first one, the $7 000-a-month Grade X, was not given out. 

For a player to qualify for a Grade X central contract, one has to be averaging 45 runs in One-Day Internationals (ODI) and 50 runs in Test cricket from 15 and three matches respectively within a 12-month reviewed period.

The second-highest category, Grade A, fetches a cool $6000 while players on grades B, C and D take home $5000, $3500 and $2000 respectively.

Meanwhile, captain Brendan Taylor, who was expected to be the only player on Group X, missed out due to fitness concerns.

Documents obtained by the Daily News show that ZC’s Player Contracts and Performance Appraisal Committee (PCPAC), headed by board member Sylvester Matshaka, acknowledged the skipper’s outstanding performances both in domestic and international cricket last season, but questioned his level of fitness.

“The committee agreed that Brendan Taylor be graded A. The committee noted that Brendan was graded A on his last contract and though he had had a decent season, he had not done enough to be graded X,” Matshaka wrote in his report to the ZC board.

“Brendan averaged 39 in the one Test that he played, 74 in the three ODIs and 39.5 in the five T20s. The committee however noted with concern Brendan’s continued problems with his fitness.”

Frontline spinner and former captain Prosper Utseya as well as current vice-captain Hamilton Masakadza were placed on the same grade with the skipper. 

Grade B, worth $5000, is occupied by six of the 15 players on central contracts. The six are Chatara, Vusi Sibanda, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Sean Williams and Brian Vitori.

All-rounder Chigumbura was dropped from a B+ contract to the B grade.

“The committee agreed that Elton has great talent but needs to work on his mind-set. It was noted that Elton had an average season and failed to make a mark in the ODIs,” read Matshaka’s report.

“He averaged 28.75 in 2 Tests, one in three ODIs and 58 in five T20s. The committee recommended that Elton be awarded a Grade B contract down from the B+ grade he currently has.”

On Chatara, Matshaka said: “The committee agreed that Tendai Chatara had a very good season and was the player of the season. The committee noted that he took 11 wickets in two Tests, five wickets in three ODIs and five wickets in four T20s with bowling averages of 24.45, 26 and 17 respectively,” he said.

“The committee recommended that Tendai be upgraded to Grade B from the current Grade C. The committee also recommended that as motivation, Tendai should also receive a letter from the Board Chairman recognising his sterling efforts during the past year.”

CONTRACTS

Grade X ($7 000): Not offered.

Group A ($6 000): Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya.

Grade B ($5 000): Elton Chigumbura, Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara, Vusi Sibanda, Malcolm Waller, Brian Vitori.

Grade C ($3 500): Regis Chakabva, Sikandar Raza Butt, Tinashe Panyangara.

Group D: ($2 000): Tinotenda Mawoyo, Shingirai Masakadza, Natsai M’Shangwe.

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