Board blocks lucrative deals
Zimbabwe players barred from English club cricket
March 27, 2007
Zimbabwe's national cricketers who arrived back home after their early exit from the World Cup, have been told by the board that they cannot join English clubs during the summer.
Several players told CricInfo that they have been told that they cannot take time off to play club cricket in England, as has been the norm in recent years, because of their contractual agreements. They usually take unpaid leave during the Zimbabwe winter to play club cricket in a bid to improve their game and earn good money.
The players signed new contracts just before their departure for the Caribbean, with clauses which stated that they would not play club cricket overseas. At the time, several complained they were given little time to read or consider the terms on offer.
However, they admitted that ZC managing director Ozias Bvute made it clear to them that they would not be allowed to play club cricket in England. In return, the board promised to pay the players money from the World Cup in foreign currency. It is believed ZC made the players sign new contracts as they feared for a mass exodus of players.
"We have been told that we cannot play club cricket in England," one played told Cricinfo. "They have also told us that we will only get our World Cup money in June, I only made US$8000 from the World Cup so I would rather lose that money and get better money playing club cricket in England."
Zimbabwe Cricket, which is widely reported to be seriously short of cash, has a poor record of paying players, and several - including Heath Streak, Tatenda Taibu and Andy Blignaut - have been owed tens of thousands of dollars for more than 18 months.
CricInfo has it on good authority that a number of the players have been offered contracts by English clubs and are in a dilemma as to whether they will take them up. If they do, then they will lose all their World Cup earnings as ZC will in all likelihood withhold the money for breach of contract. The alternative is to remain in Zimbabwe, where employment outside cricket is almost impossible, and wait and hope that the board sticks to its promises.
The players have no representative body since Clive Field, who acted on their behalf, resigned more than a year ago after the board refused to recognise his role
"And it shall come to pass afterward
That i will pour out my spirit on all flesh
Your sons and daughters will prophesy
Your old men will dream dreams
Your young men will see visions
And also on my menservants and my maidserveants
I will pour out my spirit in those days.