The Sunday Mail
CRICKET is a waiting game and that has been the story for Zimbabwean players, particularly off the field.
From expecting the International Cricket Council’s verdict following Zimbabwe’s recent suspension, to awaiting the return to normalcy, including the payment of six months’ dues and the start of domestic cricket, the tale has been the same for the country’s cricketers.
On the field, players know that when batting or running between the wickets, waiting is an important call.
A bowler awaits an umpire’s signal to bowl the first ball of the innings, while a batsman anticipates to deal with the delivery as fielders await to catch, field or celebrate.
But for the domestic cricketers, it is also a waiting game off the field.
Since ICC reinstated Zimbabwe as a full member in October, the players have been hoping to get their six months’ salaries.
They are also looking forward to the start of the domestic season.
As soon as Zimbabwe Cricket finishes its engagements with the central bank, the salaries will be paid.
However, uncertainty is hangring over the commencement of the season.
“We have received funds for salaries from the ICC, but you are aware of the changes regarding nostro accounts, so we are working with the RBZ on that. Once we get the nod from RBZ, players and staff will receive their dues,” said ZC managing director Givemore Makoni.
Despite the delay in the start of the season, players have been putting in the hours of training, hoping action will start soon.
“We are working with ICC again and we are tying up a few loose ends. Players should be ready for intense cricket soon.
“However, we cannot give a specific date on the start of the season, hence we sent a circular notifying teams to start pre-season last month.
“Remember, we started the last season in December, so I cannot say we are very late, but obviously, we would have loved to start earlier,” said Makoni.
Zimbabwe’s Test cricket is scheduled to resume at the beginning of next year.
The Chevrons are due to host Sri Lanka in January, although the exact dates are yet to be determined by the parties.
“The tour is on, it’s an FTP (Future Tours Programme) so it will go ahead, but we are in talks with Sri Lanka on the final details. We could add some ODIs, remove the Tests or play both. We shall confirm once everything is settled,” said Makoni.
Makoni added that he was pleased with most players’ attitude during this “tough” spell. “I am glad most senior players have been active in club cricket, which is good to see at this stage. lt’s important to play any proper cricket available.
“I know it hasn’t been easy for our cricketers, life under suspension was tough, but once funding from ICC resumes, the game will be played. Cricket will be alive in Zimbabwe once again,” said Makoni.
Meanwhile, the Under-19 cricket team continues with their World Cup preparations ahead of the announcement of the final 15- man squad on December 15.
The Under-19 Cricket World Cup will be played in South Africa from January 17 to February 9.
Zimbabwe were drawn against Bangladesh, Pakistan and Scotland in Group C.