Walter Chawaguta, convener of selectors for Zimbabwe Cricket(ZC), has confirmed that the national team will be its key players when they take on against Pakistan and Australia in the upcoming T20I triangular series, as these players have announced their unavailability. Chawaguta announced a 17-man squad for the tournament at Harare Sports Club on Monday (June 25), but it didn't have names of Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Graeme Cremer, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine.
It is depressing how the administrative turmoil in Zimbabwe has ruined a once competitive cricket team. These key players are on a strike for not being paid their deserving salaries for several months, something that is seldom seen in professional setups. Zimbabwe virtually doesn't have one. The sacking of Zimbabwe cricket legend Heath Streak, from his position as a head coach after a losing campaign in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, exemplified it.
ZC has not paid its national players match fees for almost a year. Its most recent communication was that it "hoped" to settle outstanding salaries by the end of July.
Chawaguta was quoted saying about the issue as, "Our hope is that they avail themselves, and if they do avail themselves then the selectors will have to sit down and see where they fit in in the greater scheme of things. Our hope is that things resolve themselves and those players avail themselves,"
"We based our selection on the players that are available. By saying 'available', today we finished our T20 practice match and all these players that are being looked at here, with the exception of Elton (Chigumbura) who is not feeling well, were available and completed the match. My assumption is that everyone is available and I have no reason to believe otherwise,"
"I think we need to set the record straight. I've personally spoken to every one of those players and they didn't make themselves available. We started off with four squads originally (for a warm-up competition) because our intention was to have a local quadrangular. When Kenya came into the picture we chose two squads of 30 for a triangular. Those players were contacted but made themselves unavailable. They didn't play in the tri-series,"
He concluded, "Towards the end of the tri-series I personally got hold of every single one of those players and every one of them made themselves unavailable until their issues are sorted out. I had a word with Brendan Taylor yesterday and told him it was time he set the record straight. Hopefully that happens soon."
Without their best players, Zimbabwe is likely to find it extremely tough against two of the best T20I sides in the world.
The first match of the triangular starts on Sunday(July 1), with the hosts taking on Pakistan. The final will be played on 8th July.
Cephas Zhuwao, Chamu Chibhabha, Brian Chari, Tarisai Musakanda, Malcolm Waller, PJ Moor, Tendai Chisoro, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta, Blessing Muzarabani, Chris Mpofu, Ryan Burl, Solomon Mire, Ryan Murray, Hamilton Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura.
(Inputs from Cricbuzz)