ZIMBABWE Cricket’s on-going cash flow problems have again caused the delay in starting the 2013/14 Franchise Cricket season.
Already behind schedule by at least three months, this new season was expected to get into full swing this weekend but domestic cricket lovers may have to endure another month before league action resumes.
Traditionally, the domestic season starts in August or September stretching for an eight-month period, but due to recent international tours and financial challenges that ZC is facing, the season will now start in December.
According to an earlier calendar which was released last month, Logan Cup champions Matabeleland Tuskers were supposed to kick the season off with an away match to Mashonaland Eagles on Saturday.
However, in an interview from Harare Tuesday, ZC media and communications manager, Lovemore Banda, confirmed the season was no longer starting this weekend.
Asked what has been the major hold up to the start of the league, Banda was frank and summed it up in one word –“Money”
“Right now we are running the new calendar with the franchises chief executive officers so that they can have an input. Once that is done, we are going to circulate the new calendar,” Banda said.
The country has five franchises – Bulawayo based Matabeleland Tuskers, Mashonaland Eagles who are in Harare, Masvingo’s Southern Rocks, Manicaland Mountaineers of Mutare and Midlands Province’s Midwest Rhinos.
When the season starts, the only event that will be missing from the calendar is the Stanbic T20 series. ZC has severed ties with Dominus Sports Company which has in the past co-ordinated the competition.
The Stanbic T20 used to attract internationally-acclaimed cricketers and in 2011, Matabeleland Tuskers had West Indies star Chris Gayle as their guest player in the Stanbic T20 Series that was held in Harare. The other four franchises also had international stars turning out for them during the competition.
Despite the delay, Banda is adamant that the quality of the game will not be compromised as players have been training at their bases while others have been with the national team.
Matabeleland Tuskers Cricket Franchise chief executive officer Stanley Staddon concurred with Banda’s sentiments on a competitive season.Advertisement
“Obviously people might be down in terms of morale but some things are beyond our control. We love to see cricket being played but I am sure that even this delay will not compromise the level of competition,” he said.
“I think at this stage we can say the league will start on 7 December and what will happen is that instead of playing Twenty20 and One Day matches, we are going to have the longer version and the One Day games. All these matches will be played on a tight schedule.”
He said they are planning to slot in a Twenty20 tournament into the calendar.