Eight cricketers to join UK trek

EIGHT players in the 16-member Zimbabwe cricket squad headed for the West Indies will be joining clubs in the United Kingdom soon after completing the tour of the Caribbean, IndependentSport has heard.


The players who have

been confirmed to be going are captain Terrence Duffin, Edward Rainsford, Prosper Utseya, Elton Chigumbura, Brendan Taylor, Keegan Meth, Greg Strydom and Charles Coventry.


The UK-bound players will be joined by pace bowler Waddington Mwayenga, who is a non-traveling reserve for the West Indies tour. Rainsford will leave the seven-match ODI series for London after the fourth match against the Windies in Guyana.


Most of the players organised their own contracts.


There had been fears that most of the contracted players would quit the national team because of the prevailing situation in Zimbabwe cricket. Zimbabwe has already lost other key players in recent weeks after Tinashe Panyangara, Gavin Ewing and Colin de Grandhomme left for the UK.


Panyangara flew out yesterday.


However, Zimbabwe team manager Andy Pycroft dispelled fears that the Zimbabwe Cricket-contracted players might decide to stay in the UK.


“The conditions are different there and it’s only club cricket,” Pycroft said. “The standards are not as good as here when they are playing international cricket.


“If there is going to be a problem with them going, it will be the conditions there. The wickets there will be wet and they will be the only professionals at the clubs. Some of the clubs they are going to have never had professional players. So there will be pressure weighing on their shoulders.


“They will have to perform like professionals. If they don’t do that, it will be trouble because the clubs will start talking about reducing their pay and things like that.”


Meanwhile, former Zimbabwe cricketer Stuart Matsikenyeri is battling to obtain a work permit to enable him to join a Birmingham club in the UK.


Matsikenyeri turned down a new national contract in January in solidarity with his best friend and former Zimbabwe skipper Tatenda Taibu who retired from international cricket in November in protest against the Zimbabwe Cricket leadership.


Taibu has since relocated to the UK where he is playing in Surrey for Pyford Club and the Lashings World XI, a club comprising some former international players living in the UK.


However the recently wedded Matsikenyeri has to meet certain contractual conditions for his permit to be processed by the British Home Office.


The contract being offered by the Birmingham league club requires Matsikenyeri to have a Level Two coaching certificate as players at the club help with the coaching of junior players. — Staff Writer.

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