Zimbabwe cricketers ready to play for free: Details here
Zimbabwe suffered a setback last week when the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended them over interference by their government. The suspension means the Zimbabwean cricketers would not be paid, in case Zimbabwe Cricket is able to host a series. In the same light, the players have agreed to play for free for now. However, they have come up with a strong condition. Here's more.
Why did ICC suspend Zimbabwe from international cricket?
The ICC suspended Zimbabwe with immediate effect, following interference from the government into their cricketing board. As a result, ICC's funding to Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has been frozen for now. Meanwhile, as per the rules, they would not be able to participate in any of the ICC events during their suspension tenure. However, they can still continue to play bilateral cricket.
Zimbabweans ready to play for free, if they're paid later
Cricket being one of the major sports in Zimbabwe, the players have expressed their desire to play for free. However, they would like to be paid for it later rather than never. "We will play qualifiers for the sake of cricket staying alive and for free but to be paid late and not never," said a senior player to ESPNCricinfo.
Players ready to sacrifice for the sake of the game
"As long as there's a future and you can see that things are going to fall into place, I have no doubt that most guys would," another senior player was quoted as saying, willing to sacrifice short-term survival for long-term.
Zimbabwe technically still eligible to play international cricket
Although suspended, Zimbabwe can still play international cricket, and the ICC would continue to provide match officials for them. However, the players would have to play for free, until their suspension ends. Also, the board would have to bear the cost of hosting a team. Meanwhile, The Sports and Recreation Commission has set up an interim committee with a contingency plan for player welfare.
Zimbabwe unlikely to take part in World T20 qualifiers
Although the Zimbabwe players are ready to play for free, their dream of playing the World T20 qualifiers relies on the ICC. Until the ICC lifts the suspension, they won't be able to play the qualifiers. They are also unlikely to host Afghanistan in August, while their tour of Bangladesh in September too seems doubtful. Their home-series against Windies in October-November hangs in balance.
ICC sets October 8 deadline to reconsider Zimbabwe's membership
As of now, the ICC has given time until October 8 for ZC to come up with a satisfactory response that the board is working independently, without any external interference. Provided a satisfactory response, the ICC would consider reviewing the membership in its next meeting. However, the ICC has warned that failing to come up with a proper answer would further jeopardize their chances.