THE escalating tension between Zimbabwe Cricket [ZC] and national team players over unpaid salaries, match fees and bonuses has reached new heights after the under-fire cricket body refused to give clarity on when the players will be paid their dues.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Disgruntled national team players, who are owed match fees dating back to the tour of Sri Lanka last July and have not received their salaries for the past two months, last week enlisted the services of a prominent Harare lawyer, Gerald Mlotshwa, to spearhead their demands.
In a letter addressed to ZC and copied to both the Ministry of Sport and the International Cricket Council, Mlotshwa gave the local cricket governing body until noon on Wednesday to provide a written undertaking as to when the outstanding money would be paid.
However, in a move that is likely to escalate tensions and plunge the upcoming triangular series with Australia and Pakistan into further doubt, ZC appeared to dither around the demands made by the players.
Instead, ZC demanded the list of names of the individual players demanding their dues in a move many believe is a ploy to victimise the protesting players, who last week threatened to boycott the upcoming international matches.
“We are puzzled as to who exactly you purport to represent,” ZC’s legal consultant Joyce Kwashira wrote to Mlotshwa on Friday.
“Players become national team players upon selection into the national team squad. In order for us to respond to your correspondence, please furnish us with a document signed by individual players whom you are representing so that we may respond accordingly.”
Mlotshwa, however, said he was unmoved by ZC’s attempts to divert from the real issues.
“They know who I represent and the letter is very clear about that. They must just simply write to the individual players and indicate when salaries are being paid,” he told Standardsport.
The plight of national team players is the latest cause to be taken up by the prominent Harare lawyer, who is also representing former coach Heath Streak, batting coach Lance Klusener and fitness trainer Sean Bell following their dismissal by ZC.
In addition, Mlotshwa is handling Streak’s $1 million defamation suit against ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani while also taking the ZC board head-on over lack of necessary qualifications among some of its board members.