ZIMBABWE Cricketâ€™s new franchise system, to be fully funded by the national board at its inception, will mend relationships in the local cricket fraternity, says ZC managing director Ozias Bvute.
The revamped domestic system will decentralise the administration of cricket by creating self-sufficient franchises to run alongside existing provincial associations.
The franchises will run five first-class teams to play throughout the season in a changed domestic calendar.
The franchises will be based at Harare Sports Club, Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, Kwekwe Sports Club, Mutare Sports Club and Masvingo Sports Club.
ZC provincial offices and provincial boards will continue to administer the development of cricket in schools and provincial club leagues.
The club game, which assumes Amateur Cricket status in the new setup, will act as feeder to the franchise sides.
The franchise system is used to great effect in South African cricket and rugby, and recently in the rich Indian Premier League.
â€œBasically what we are trying to do is to take cricket to the people,â€ Bvute told IndependentSport this week. Â
â€œA lot has been said about people being prevented from participating in cricket administration through various means. The franchises offer an opportunity for everyone to participate. Nobody will be stopped from being part of the individual franchises.â€
ZC is currently in the process of interviewing five potential CEOs for the franchises.
â€œWe are currently in the process of interviewing potential CEOs, in consultation with the provinces, of course. We want to engage people with both cricket knowledge and business acumen.â€
Under the new setup, ZC will suspend central contracts. Players will now be remunerated by their franchises. Bvute insisted that the changes would not lower contractual benefits, but will in fact offer more when franchises, in due course, begin to compete for playersâ€™ signatures.
He however hinted at the reintroduction of central contracts in future.
â€œWe will work towards a timeline for creating central contracts,â€ he said. â€œWe are using this as a catalyst to kick-start the process.â€
Meanwhile, Bangladesh will tour for five ODIs in August. All matches will be played in Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe last played the Tigers at the beginning of the year on the subcontinent. They lost a three-match ODI series 2-1 before narrowly missing a place in the final of a tri-series also involving Sri Lanka.
Bvute also insisted that the tri-series to be played in Zimbabwe between the hosts, India and a yet unknown third side is still on.
â€œIndia are definitely coming,â€ he said. â€œWe are currently in negotiations with two other boards to hold that tri-series just before the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa (in September).â€
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO