Zim cricketers on strike

HARARE - Zimbabwe's premier cricket tournament – the Logan Cup – got off to a false start yesterday after local cricketers refused to take to the field in protest over low salaries and contracts.

The industrial action forced the cancelation of the two four-day matches scheduled to start yesterday in Harare and Bulawayo.

Mashonaland Eagles and Mid West Rhinos were scheduled to square-off at Old Hararians Sports Club while Matebeleland Tuskers where set to lock horns against Mountaineers at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

The matches have however, been rescheduled to begin this morning at the respective venues as the cricketers opted to negotiate their grievances with the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) authorities while action is in full swing.

Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZPCA) secretary-general, Eliah Zvimba confirmed the strike but referred all correspondence to ZC human resources manager, Tafadzwa Rafemoyo.

“It’s true the games have been called off but you can talk to Tafadzwa Rafemoyo for further details, I’m attending a funeral at the moment,” Zvimba said.

“The players will resume playing tomorrow (this morning) until I meet with Zimbabwe Cricket on Friday.”

ZC spokesmen Lovemore Banda said: “On Monday, the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association (ZPCA) wrote to Zimbabwe Cricket listing what it called ‘grey areas’ that needed to be addressed.

“Among the matters were contractual issues and the memorandum of understanding between ZC and the ZPCA. ZC proposed a meeting on Thursday to continue with discussions but the ZPCA chief executive officer Eliah Zvimba said he would only be available on Friday afternoon.

“Against that background of continuing talks with the ZPCA, it came as a surprise to ZC that when umpires went on to the field for the first day of Logan Cup matches at the two venues, the players refused to come out, citing the same contractual issues which were contained in the e-mail from their association and which will be discussed at the meeting scheduled for Friday.

“The boycott by the players has left ZC with no option but to suspend domestic matches until the players make themselves available.”

The players who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity said they were not happy with the contracts they got last Friday hence the reason for the revolt.

“All we are demanding for is to have the least contracted player taking home $600 and not the current $300,” one disgruntled player said.

“ZC have decided to pay those on earn as you play contracts $50 for an ODI match and $100 for the four-dayers and to us it shows how insincere our bosses can be at times.”

Former Zimbabwe international seamer Kyle Jarvis, who is back in the country and playing as an overseas player with Mid West Rhinos took to social media to express his dismay at the situation.

He tweeted: “Good start to the zim 4day domestic season. Game called off with all the teams on strike. Sad to see this is all still going on.”

As ZC grapple with a potential crippling strike which is a sad reminder of last season’s events, the officials at 28 Maiden Drive are contemplating building an ambitious cricket ground in Victoria Falls that is expected to accommodate 10 000 people.

The project’s ground breaking ceremony is expected to be held by the end of this month with construction expected to be complete at the end of next year.

With the national team currently touring Bangladesh, ZC also sent a bloated delegation of seven officials to the Asian country in sharp contrast to what happened in Zimbabwe’s previous tour.

During the tour to the West Indies when Englishman, Alan Butcher was still in charge of the team, only two officials travelled with the squad as ZC struggled with a liquidity crisis.

Zimbabwe two specialist coaches then, Grant Flower (batting) and Heath Streak (bowling) were left behind.

This time around Zimbabwe sent a non-playing delegation that comprises of head coach, Steve Mangongo, his assistant Douglas Hondo, Mufaro Chiturumani, team manager, Stanley Chioza, match analyst, Walter Karimanzira, fitness trainer, Anesu Mupotaringa, physiotherapist and Givemore Makoni, convener of selectors.

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