Zimbabwe's cricketers have announced that they will be willing to play for free in order to keep the game of cricket alive in the country. This comes on the back of the International Cricket Council's decision to suspend Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) on 19th July.
On June 22nd, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suspended Zimbabwe Cricket for misuse of money and violations of the board's constitution. This forced the ICC, cricket's governing body to suspend Zimbabwe due to government interference in the board's operations.
This suspension not only cut ICC's funding for Zimbabwe but also put Zimbabwe men's and women's participation in ICC events in jeopardy. The ICC mentioned in their statement that if the old Zimbabwe Cricket administration isn't reinstated before October 8, the suspension won't be reconsidered.
This ultimatum has meant that Zimbabwe are highly likely to miss both the 2020 ICC Women's and Men's T20 World Cup qualifier that is to be held in Scotland in August-September and Dubai in September-October respectively.
In spite of all this, Zimbabwe's cricketers who have suffered default in payment of salaries even during the best of times have come out and announced that they will play for free.
"We will play for free as long as we can see the light at the end of the tunnel," a senior squad member told ESPNcricinfo. "Our next assignment is the (T20 World Cup) qualifiers. I will play for free as long as we are assured that we will be paid eventually. We will play qualifiers for the sake of cricket staying alive and for free but to be paid late and not never."
Another player echoed his compatriot's opinion, saying: "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."
Both the men's and women's teams have not been paid for the last few months and Zimbabwe Cricket also released a statement saying that the players won't be paid for a considerable amount of time or might also be never paid.
All these problems and disagreements have put Zimbabwe's cricketing future in a massive muddle in spite of the players' best efforts to save the future of the sport back home.Published 31 Jul 2019, 14:44 IST