THE rift between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) and 15 senior players is widening by the day as investigations by this paper reveal that the players turned down efforts at rectifying the crisi
s by the union.
Some of the players are already making plans to terminate their contracts with the ZCU and leave the country, it emerged this week.
While on the one hand the ZCU is suing the players for breach of contract, the 15 rebel players also accuse the union of breaching the same contract and have demanded a public apology.
IndependentSport this week saw a copy of the “fresh” demands made by the players to the ZCU last week which, contrary to reports that there were 10, were in fact three.
ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka announced at a press conference last Thursday that the players had forwarded an ultimatum with new demands 15 minutes before the briefing. Chingoka said during the press conference that the union had come up with 13 measures designed to solve the crisis.
The three demands that the players forwarded include that the ZCU makes a public apology.
“The ZCU went to the media to reveal the issues that were still being discussed,” the ultimatum said.
“That was a breach of contract. The ZCU also publicly presented players as a racist lot, which doesn’t want racial integration. We want a public apology from the union.”
The second demand is the reinstatement of the all-rounder former captain Heath Streak. This flies in the face of claims by Chingoka last week that Streak had agreed to play under Tatenda Taibu’s captaincy.
“Streak was unlawfully sacked and we therefore demand his reinstatement. Chances are that players will not come back to play under Taibu,” reads the second demand.
The third point concerned the selection panel. The players claim that the ZCU had made a “fake compromise” by retaining two members – Steven Mangongo and Max Ebrahim – on the panel. The players are demanding that the two panellists be removed.
Members of the rebellious group of players who spoke on condition of anonymity this week said they are unlikely to return to the national team unless the ZCU publicly apologises and reinstates Streak.
Chingoka, who is currently in UK, last week stated that the issue of the captaincy “was no longer of debate”, implying that Streak would not be reinstated.
He was also quoted by the media during his trip to England this week as saying Streak must forget about the captaincy. The rebellious players were given 21 days to “rectify their breaches of contract. If rectification is not made, their contracts will be terminated,” Chingoka was quoted as saying.
The ZCU is yet to make any public comment on the fresh demands.
Some players among the rebel group were already making plans to leave the country for “greener pastures” this paper heard this week.
It remains to be seen if last ditch arbitration attempts succeed. Some insiders remained hopeful yesterday.
Meanwhile, the chaos in cricket has dampened the spirit on the domestic scene. The much-awaited Mashonaland PG Vigne Cup knockout final between Old Hararians and Alexandra Sports Clubs was called off last week after players failed to turn up.
Old Hararians features the estranged Bryan Strang while his brother Paul and Douglas Marillier, who have left the game in frustration, play for Alexandra.