Darlington Majonga/Enock Muchinjo
THE performance-based contracts Zimbabwe’s international cricketers are refusing could see the highest-ranked player raking in over $500 million for a Test win, IndependentS
port can reveal.
According to the new contracts Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is offering, the incentive scheme would see a level-one player earning $87,5 million in match fees for a Test win, $44 million for a tie and $26 million for a loss.
The top-ranked players stand to earn $262,5 million for a win, $131 million for a tie and $96 million for a loss in a Test match.
On top of the match fees, the incentive ZC is dangling would see any player being rewarded with $350 million for a century and $140 million for 50 runs during a Test match. A 10-wicket haul in a match would earn a bowler $350 million and $140 million for five wickets.
At least three wicket-keeping dismissals not including run-outs would guarantee $35 million per match, while three fielding catches get $26 million.
There are also seasonal cumulative incentives, with a player who scores at least 400 runs getting $175 million, the same reward for 30 wickets.
For one-day internationals (ODIs), the lowest-ranked player is guaranteed $52,5 million for a win, $26 million for a tie and $19 million for a loss. An ODI century or five wickets would be rewarded with $140 million, while three catches can earn one $17,5 million.
In comparison, New Zealand cricketers were paid US$6 000 ($150 million at the official exchange rate) per Test and US$2 500 ($62,5 million) per ODI for their efforts during their just-ended tour of Zimbabwe.
Only skipper Tatenda Taibu, his vice Heath Streak and all-rounder Andy Blignaut have been offered negotiated national contracts, while 27 other players have been given the prescribed level-one contracts.
ZC has offered all the players a monthly retainer fee of at least $20 million, while only 15 out of 30 who have been benefiting would get cars.
However, the players are not happy with the new incentive system, preferring central contracts that would guarantee them lumpsum incomes every month. The cricketers are demanding take-home pay of up to $50 million per month and other perks such as DStv subscription, cars, fuel allowance and full-cover medical aid on top of match fees and other performance rewards.
l Meanwhile Clive Field, the players’ representative, has ruled out the possibility of a player rebellion, saying the cricketers stand to lose immensely if they go on strike against the new contract system that will see players getting remunerated according to their performances.
Final negotiations between the parties are still ongoing, and Field said there were still “issues of concern and anomalies” such as the grading structures which still have to be discussed.
Field said the only option for the players in the event they do not accept the final contract document would be to “take the contracts back to ZC” rather than resort to a strike.
Field’s affirmation was consistent with that of ZC managing director Ozias Bvute and Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers Association chairman Mluleki Nkala who both dismissed fears of a players’ strike at a press conference on Monday.
“There is no risk to cricket. The game is bigger than any thing else,” Field said.
“The players are determined to get a better deal, and they are entitled to have an input, and to have a clear idea of where ZC are taking cricket.
“But from the players’ point of view they feel that they must still play cricket. That is what they are paid to do, and that is what they are good at.
“To turn their back on cricket just because they did not get contracts will damage them, and it will damage Zimbabwean cricket. There is too much to be lost in people taking hard decisions.”
Although details of the contracts have already been publicised, copies of the contracts will only be available to the players on September 14. Field said discussions are being held in the “spirit of negotiations”.
He added: “I do not want to see ZC lose and the players winning. We want to see a situation where both sides get as much as they want.
“We need to see Zimbabwean cricket prosper.”