Home » General » ’We Aren’t On a Gravy Train’, Zim Cricketers Defend World Cup Fat Bonuses

WE have noted with concern the media reports in The Herald dated 17th of April 2014. The article is so damaging to the players’ image and its representatives.

It portrays players as unprofessional, greedy and underachievers who have let the country down deliberately.

We wonder if ever the Senior Sports Editor, and whoever gave him the story, ever tasted how it feels to go for six months without a salary.

The players are responsible family people and just like any worker deserve to be paid better salaries. What they earn is just a drop of what they are supposed to earn.

They deserve such amounts though the figures published are wrong.

However, as Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association Country representatives, we would like to correct the anomalies and state categorically our position regarding the state of affairs of this cricket saga.

The article was wrote without consultation with ZPCA.

The writer was not objective in his submissions. In all fairness the writer owes ZPCA and players an apology. The headline was misleading and of bad taste.

The writer appears braggart, windbag and trigger happy to shoot the image of the players and behave as if he knows all.

It’s a fact that we all need to look at the source of the problem holistically and stop pointing fingers. We need to understand why Zimbabwe Cricket is in such financial doldrums. We need to understand why ICC came up with such a rescue plan?

We also need to seriously understand the kind and nature of any administrator in the country who can accrue debts in the tune of US$18 million.

We need to understand the nature of an administration that go for more than six months without paying a cent to its workers. We will be glad if the world is made to understand the reasons why there are alleged losses for playing Bangladesh, Pakistan etc.

Zimbabwe Cricket is in existence because of players, they get funding from ICC to administer and develop the game, identify and nature players.

It’s mandated to safeguard the interest of the game of cricket in Zimbabwe, including paying wages and salaries, not only for players but even to its staff.

But going for six months without paying your staff and you still defend your back saying the Zimbabwean economy is bad, it’s ridiculous, unbecoming and sheer falsehood to say the least.

Players are yet to be paid that much by ZC.

We challenge ZC to produce proof of payment to that effect so that the world can see.

We agreed to the US$412 000 figure to include appearance and match fees for both the participating players and the other 15 remaining.

ZC are signatory to this agreement.

We would also want to thank the technical staff for coming up with such a team in a very short space of time and produced the results which was exceptionally well.

The team trained for two days when the other nations were having international tours for practice and playing cricket at highest level daily.

The selectors had a torrid time to choose who to drop because ZC didn’t play its part by honouring what they promised. With the push we made, both players and staff were finally paid.

It is indeed critically important to look at the situation in a broader perspective.

As cricketers, we felt it wise to take the bull by the horns taking into account ZC’s history of insincerity.

We had a transition of both players and administrators who have contributed and invested time and resources in cricket but they all left frustrated because of such authoritarian way of doing things.

We took stock of young and energetic cricketers who have turned their back on Zimbabwe and it’s shocking. We are supposed to be one of the gest cricket nations in the world.

England is doing well because of a Zimbabwean coaching there. However, it is the game that has suffered so much that no one can recommend his son and daughter to play cricket.

Women cricketers participated in various competitions and got nothing.

The players, some left school and some left their families, to go to these tours which are budgeted but got nothing out of it.

Zimbabwe Under-19 was another casualty. They participated in the World Cup in February 2014 and also got nothing. They are doing charity work and where is the motivation aspect for these youngsters. The game is naturally dying because of maladministration.

Zimbabwe cricket players are the least paid in the cricketing fraternity worldwide.

We have facts and figures on how, as an association, we are going to distribute the funds. Moreover, the deal struck was between ZC and ZPCA and it was never imposed to Zimbabwe Cricket.

It was agreed without cohesion or intimidation.

The deal was struck by a three-member committee and all stakeholders were equally represented. The loan extended to ZC was to cover “outstanding salaries” for both players and staff not for the national team only.

ZC has an obligation to pay salaries whilst the players are on tour. It is contractual.

ZPCA came into being after realising that ZC, for a very long time, failed to pay salaries and allowances in time. We have lost trust in their administration.

Just like other cricket nations, we want to guarantee and secure players’ salaries going forward. This is not an option.

We have engaged ZC several times without number and we are wondering why they pretend as if we forced them to agree on the WT20 participation contract.

The ICC Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer are being misled that players are paid “too much” and they take a bigger chunk of the ICC grants.

In some ZC budgets in our possession, they made provisions for unrealistic wages which was never paid to any living cricketer in Zimbabwe.

In actual fact it’s not a true reflection of what they are paying to Central franchise players, Under-19 and Women cricketers included.

ICC officials met ZC Management, the banks and the technical staff, we are also wondering why they didn’t met the players to get correct information about us.

We believe the two officials had no business with us and so they don’t have a say in the deal sealed between ZPCA and ZC.

The so-called Business Plan we guess it includes players but no consultations were made. We urge them to treat us as equal partners in this matrix. We have heard news in the press about the likely changes in the cricket model in the country.

We are also waiting to see how it is going to be implemented without ZPCA involvement.

There is no way the number of players can be reduced let alone the shift from four day game to three day game.

Zimbabwe is a Test playing nation and that will be a total disaster for the game. Players must not suffer in any way due to administrative boobs.

It is childish to compare Zimbabwe Cricket Players earnings with the Premier League’s nine month campaign for simple reasons.

ZC gets US$8,9 million just for competing in the just ended WT20 in Bangladesh and PSL gets a fraction of this from Sponsors but not guaranteed the same amount come next season, whereas ZC is guaranteed grants (in millions) in every ICC competition. Whether we the team lost or not, they are going to receive US$8,9 million.

Players are going to get US$412 000 out of this and ZC is left with a whopping US$8 858 000.00 without any sweat.

We are not worried about their debts which were never borrowed to pay salaries or development of the game.

Holding other factors constant, If PSL administrators and any other ailing associations in Zimbabwe gets this much yearly, surely they can do much in terms of sports development.

But ZC gets such amounts in every competitions.

South Africa and Australia are coming in AugustSeptember, they get income whilst World Cup is coming in 2015 and other millions are coming their way. How come they failed several times without number to pay and develop the game?

How come there are schools that are still owed school fees for students who were on cricketing bursaries in Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo?

Therefore, the reason why Zimbabwe failed to perform was because they had no game time in preparation of such a big event.

Players last played competitive cricket in September 2013 and never played any domestic first class cricket since then.

This was because Zimbabwe Cricket failed to pay their salaries, match fees and allowances. Some winning bonuses date backing to 2010 are still outstanding.

We have drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and submitted copies both to ZC and ICC and up to now we haven’t heard a single comment from them. Therefore we regard the comment from ICC officials (if true) as very unfortunate. How high or how low is only ZPCA (and) none of their business.

They should look at how much the administrators are earning first.

They should just swallow the pride and resign if the load is too much and let those who have power and knowledge do it for them.

Eliah Zvimba is the ZPCA secretary-general and tomorrow he writes about what his organisation feels about the ICC bailout, the challenges stalking the game and what the future possibly holds

Source : The Herald