Zimbabwe cricket team captain Graeme Cremer says reports of imminent salary delays will not act as a distraction for his side ahead of their must-win second Test match against West Indies, which gets underway this morning at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Cricinfo reported on Friday that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) had been hit by a financial crunch which could affect salaries for all employees, including players, citing a leaked internal memo by ZC informing its staff that they would only be receiving half their October salaries this month.
Asked if the distractions in the build-up to this match would have an impact on the players’ performances, Cremer said although the players were aware of the developments, his charges would not be distracted by the off-field drama and were fully focused on doing well for the nation.
“We obviously know about it because it affects us, but it doesn’t worry us because we’ve had a chat with the MD [ZC managing director Faisal Hasnain] and we know the position he’s in. It’s just a cash flow problem and it won’t affect the perfomance,” Cremer said at a pre-match Press conference in Bulawayo yesterday.
“The team as well as myself know the situation ZC is in. It’s not like guys won’t get their money; it’s just one of those things. It’s a tough environment sometimes, but we know with Failsal there, we’ll get through.”
ZC, whose corporate governance has improved significantly in recent months, said the “decision to withhold part of the staff salaries was in order for them to balance strained cash flows, and this course of action was communicated to staff after ZC had exhausted all other possible alternatives”.
The local cricket governing body added that “the situation is no different to any other company that is experiencing severe cash flow difficulties, and ZC’s own legacy financial issues have been well publicised and are in the process of being addressed,” an assertion, which Cremer said they understood.
“As Zimbabweans, we’ve gone through quite a lot and we’re used to dealing with these things, that’s where I respect our team very much. Guys will still pitch up and want to do well for the country no matter what issues we have in our economy or in Zimbabwe Cricket as a whole. It’s very good to see that, it can be tough sometimes, but the guys always get through that,” Cremer said.
Turning his attention to the match, Cremer said it was important for his charges to rectify their first innings batting frailties to give themselves a better chance of salvaging the two-match series against the Windies.
Zimbabwe’s failure to post a competitive first innings score proved to be the deciding factor during their loss to the touring West Indies side in the first Test which they went on to lose by 117runs
After restricting the tourists to 219 in their first innings, Zimbabwe failed to seize control of the contest as they were bundled out for 159 on the second day, which gave the Windies a vital first innings lead.
“That first innings with the bat is so crucial in Test cricket and if you don’t do so well in the first innings with the bat you’re always chasing the game, so we’re hoping to rectify that. To win a Test match you have to score 600 runs with your two innings, we will hopefully do that and not leave too much for our second innings with the bat,” he said.
Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak hinted that they were unlikely to make any changes to the team, which played in the first Test.
“We’re unlikely to make unforced changes,” Streak said.
“We’ve got a couple of niggles that we’re managing. So, we’ll have a final check tomorrow on one or two guys, but we’ll try not to change the team too much. That’s what we’ve done consistently over the last year, trying to give guys a fair crack.”
Zimbabwe (possible): Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Malcolm Waller, Regis Chakabva, Graeme Cremer (capt), Kyle Jarvis, Christopher Mpofu.
West Indies (possible): Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (capt), Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel.