ZIMBABWE’S top performer in the giant-killing act in which the national cricket team beat Pakistan in a Test match earlier this month, Tendai Chatara, is set to be rewarded with a central contract with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).
Eight players were signed before the Pakistan series while Kyle Jarvis turned down a new deal.
Captain Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Sean Williams, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya and Brian Vitori signed new 12- month contracts with ZC just before the Pakistan series began.
On the other hand seamers Tinashe Panyangara, Chatara and Shingi Masakadza as well as batsmen Sikandar Raza Butt, Tymcen Maruma, Richmond Mutumbami and Tymcen Maruma were given short-term deals with the promise that they would get full contracts subject to performance.
All the other players will get franchise contracts that run in line with the domestic season.
ZC will offer other players needed for national team commitments contracts on a short-term basis as and when they are required.
Chatara and Panyangara put up top performances that earned Zimbabwe a rare win and some respect.
Chatara took six wickets in the second Test in addition to the five he took in the first, while Panyangara took nine wickets in both Tests.
Panyangara bowled well, creating pressure with some of his spells which other bowlers capitalised on.
Both will be hoping that as selectors meet today to deliberate on who they can reward with the lucrative contract, their names will be added to the eight on central contracts.
Panyangara’s international career looked to be heading for its demise after he was exiled from the national team, but the departure of Jarvis opened up an opportunity.
Convener of selectors Givemore Makoni confirmed this week they would be meeting today to consider additions to the squad based on performances in the last two months.
Zimbabwe played India in five One-Day Internationals losing all matches, but there were notable performances.
Raza scored a half century in one of the matches, then followed that up with a Test half century on debut against Pakistan before he was dropped to make way for Taylor in the second Test.
While the Players Union demanded that the number of those on the national contract be increased from 10 as of last season to 15, ZC is not looking at numbers.
“That contract is a reward to players who are excelling at the top level and that has been explained to the players,” said Makoni. “We cannot work on a minimum number; we look at performances and select players on merit.”
He added that leg spinner Graeme Cremer, who missed the Pakistan series over pay disputes, was overlooked because of his lengthy lay-off through injury.
Cremer will be looking to relaunch himself in the domestic leagues which are set for a delayed start in November.
He can only return to international cricket in March if he is selected to tour Bangladesh for the T-20 World Cup.