National cricket players are sweating over new contracts following a year of inconsistency for most of them at international level.
All contracts expire at the end of this month.
Anxiety is high among the players as Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) goes through the process of selecting centrally contracted players for the 2015/2016 season after the team struggled in most internationals.
Only seven players are likely to be awarded central contracts. However, it is understood the new contracts will come with salary cuts.
The highest-paid players earn a basic salary of US$8 000 per month on average, excluding match fees and bonuses.
The ODI team, however, pulled a big surprise and beat Australia last year, but individual performances have largely been mediocre.
Players told IndependentSport that they were worried about salary cuts.
“There are two issues: first it’s whether one will get the central contract or not and after that, how much one would be offered as a salary,” said a player. “We are informed ZC wants to cut salaries in the various grades, so no one will get what they have been getting in their current contract.”
The problem for the players is that the statistics are not particularly good so they have little room for negotiation.
Those who performed fairly well during the current season include Sean Williams who had a particularly brilliant World Cup showing where he scored four half centuries, but has suffered a dip in form since then.
But he should still be good for a central contract as is ODI captain Elton Chigumbura who did not enjoy an impressive World Cup although he came back and scored two back-to-back centuries against Pakistan and India recently.
He also has a good run record in the Test arena where he scored two half centuries in Bangladesh in the forgettable tour where the team lost all its matches in all three formats. Hamilton Masakadza is almost assured of the lucrative central contract having made good runs in Bangladesh where he scored one-and-a-half centuries in the second Test before he made another half century in the second innings.
He also scored a half century against South Africa at the World Cup, but the runs dried thereafter.
Opening batsman Chamu Chibhabha has hit form at the right time having scored his half ton against South Africa at the World Cup; he followed that up with another one in Pakistan and was the leading run scorer for Zimbabwe against India in the recent ODI series.
Seam bowler Tendai Chatara could have easily won a contract, but his long absence through injury has dealt him a major blow. He is unlikely to play any competitive cricket in this calendar year.
Tinashe Panyangara has been Zimbabwe’s leading bowler. He took wickets in Bangladesh, and also did well in Australia and New Zealand and barring surprises, he should cash in.
It will be interesting how another senior player Prosper Utseya’s case will be treated, especially after his racism allegations against Alistair Campbell who is at the centre of the selection process of those who get central contracts.
Utseya has been banned from bowling spin and has reinvented himself at medium pace, but he has struggled to make the starting 11 since then.