Zimbabwe’s cricketers are set to have their salaries cut as their national board continues to face financial troubles.
Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani told The Associated Press this week during the second test against Sri Lanka that “soon it will be necessary to cut back” and reducing players’ salaries are part of the process.
Mukuhlani didn’t give exact figures of how much salaries would be reduced by as that decision would be made by the Zimbabwe Cricket board. But players had been informed there would be cuts.
“It’s an on-going process,” Mukuhlani said. “But yes, we will have to cut back. It can’t be business as usual.
“Obviously it’s a bit of a touchy subject. But I will assume that everyone will accept it. We will rather make sacrifices today and survive tomorrow. It’s bring and take, a bargaining process.”
Players told the AP they have been notified unofficially of the pending wage cuts.
The news comes with Zimbabwe pushing for a rare test victory over Sri Lanka on the final day of the second test in Harare. Zimbabwe has been surprisingly competitive in the two-match series. It’s Zimbabwe’s first test series since November 2018 and first at home in more than two years.
Zimbabwe cricket has been in trouble for years and players have often taken the hit. They’ve previously gone months without pay and have sometimes threatened to strike. Many left the southern African country, which has an economy in ruin, to pursue careers overseas or retired because of the uncertainty.
In the latest blow, Zimbabwe was banned from international competitions for three months last year by the International Cricket Council because of government interference in the running of the national board. The government had fired the board amid allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement, sparking the ban. The ICC doesn’t allow governments to interfere in cricket matters. The Zimbabwe government backed off, the cricket board was reinstated and the ICC ban was lifted in October, allowing the team to play again.
However, the ban stopped Zimbabwe from playing in the qualifying competition for this year’s World Twenty20 in Australia, robbing the players of the chance to go to the 20-over World Cup.
The ICC also stopped its funding to Zimbabwe during the suspension.
Zimbabwe gets a main grant of $94 million from the international cricket body for an eight-year period from 2017. But Mukuhlani, who sits on the ICC board as head of a test-playing nation, said there’s been reduced financial help from the ICC in other areas for many countries and that’s exacerbated the problems in Zimbabwe.