19 July 2018

Zimbabwe: Sixty-Seven All Out

The Chevrons turned on one of their worst shows with the bat yesterday when they were dismissed for a paltry 67 runs by Pakistan to surrender the ongoing five-match ODI series without giving a fight.

The team -- missing several of their regular players because of a labour dispute -- are going through a dark patch after suffering huge defeats in their opening three matches of the five-match ODI series against Pakistan.

The gulf in class between the two sides has been huge.

Zimbabwe yesterday suffered their second successive nine-wicket drubbing at Queens Sports Club where Pakistan, who had won the opening match of the series by a massive 201 runs, are clearly dominating the proceedings.

With the visitors 3-0 up, the series has turned into a no contest.

The Chevrons are missing Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Graeme Cremer, Malcom Waller and Craig Ervine who have made themselves unavailable for selection because of a labour dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket.

The players have even rejected ZC's payment plan to settle the arrears by the end of the month following discussions with the association's consultant, Vincent van der Bijl.

The South African has been on a charm offensive to try and bring the players on board.

Key all-rounder Sikandar Raza has also been away in Canada where he was taking part in the Global T20 tournament while big hitter Solomon Mire and fast-bowler Kyle Jarvis have been ruled out by injury.

This has left selectors with a pool of fringe and inexperienced players.

But the depressing results on the ground have stirred anger across the local cricket fraternity.

"I represent not just what you term 'senior' players, but all those players that have agreed, in writing, to join the Zimbabwe Cricketers Association, which presently comprises about 35 professional cricketers from around the country," said lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa.

"This includes most members of the Chevrons.

"The impasse is not just with the 'senior' players, but all of the Associations members who are owed various monies by Zimbabwe Cricket.

"On 9th June, 2018, we wrote to ZC, setting out the conditions our clients would be prepared to countenance in making themselves available for selection for the T20 and ODI series commencing in July.

"We have never received a serious response to that letter at all from Zimbabwe Cricket, other than a . . . request asking 'who our clients are'.

"A gentleman purporting to be the Managing Director of Zimbabwe Cricket sent a general memorandum to all of those players, including my clients, owed money by ZC.

"This was on 14th June, 2018, well before the T20 and ODI series.

"We queried the contents of this memorandum.

"The embarrassing results on the cricket field at Queens in the on-going ODI against Pakistan are what has happened in the light of ZC's incompetence and arrogance in addressing players concerns.

"If no other cogent action is taken against this ZC Board in the coming days, we will proceed to take legal action and place ZC under judicial management."

Zimbabwe's 67 was the lowest by any team in international cricket this year, replacing Pakistan's 74 against New Zealand back in January.

It was also the lowest total that Pakistan have bowled out a team in international cricket and yesterday they needed just under 10 overs to wrap up the game for the loss of one wicket in their easy chase.

Only three players managed doubled figures for Zimbabwe with Chamu Ch0ibhabha the highest scorer with 16 runs followed by skipper Hamilton Masakadza and tail-ender Wellington Masakadza with 10 runs apiece.

ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani said he couldn't understand the motive by the players to reject their overtures after they have rolled out a solid payment plan which guaranteed that the players will get their dues settled by July 25.

Mukuhlani said the entire board was gutted by the results but cannot do anything more after the senior players opted out.

"It is not like ZC has shut the door on anyone. ZC has done everything possible to have all the players available," said Mukuhlani.

"The fact that the selectors reached out to each and every player considered for national team means everyone in that group is important.

"But if players flatly refuses to play what more can ZC do?

"Of course, the major challenge is about the money issues. But our financial problems are well documented and this is not the first time that we have had such challenges.

"An undertaking was made that these guys will get their dues on July 25, that's when we expect to have the money. Everyone knows the situation.

"We agreed not to borrow since we are in this mess because of the continuous borrowing done in the past, it became a vicious circle.

"So, there has to come a time when we need to break that circle and obviously that period will be painful but it's part of the solutions to our long-standing problems."


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