Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC)’s decision to axe national cricket team star Brendan Taylor from the squad for the upcoming Triangular Twenty20 (T20) series has yet again proved why recent calls for leadership change at the local cricket governing body are justified.
While ZC did not provide any reasons for omitting Taylor from the national squad, it is widely believed that his crime was that he had spearheaded efforts by local cricketers to revive a players’ representative body aimed at safeguarding their welfare and negotiate the payment of outstanding salaries.
Local players have been without a players’ representative body since the demise of the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers’ Association (ZPCA) in 2015.
The body had played a major role in negotiating for better remuneration and working conditions for the cricketers, but since its collapse, local players have struggled to get paid on time.
As it is Zimbabwe’s cricketers are owed several months’ salaries, while the national players have not been paid match fees from their successful tour of Sri Lanka last July.
Following threats of a boycott of the upcoming tri-series, ZC last month promised to settle their dues before the end of June. They have however shifted goalposts yet again, indicating that salaries would only be paid by the end of July at the earliest.
The ZC leadership is notorious for using divide-and-rule tactics when negotiating contracts with the players, hence the latest move to frustrate efforts to form a representative body.
The move to punish Taylor for doing what is right exposes the ZC lack of seriousness in addressing issues to do with player welfare.
What the ZC leadership should know is that without the players, they are nothing and that there will be no game to administer in the country.
Other cricket boards around the world have embraced players’ representative bodies as a key component of the modern game. They work closely together to ensure that players’ concerns are taken note of and addressed to enable them to focus on their core business of playing the game.
So, instead of victimising Taylor, ZC should support his efforts to improve the working conditions of local players.
Taylor, whom we believe should be named the captain of the team, has been a loyal servant to Zimbabwe cricket ever since he made his international debut 14 years ago.
The fact that he opted out of a lucrative Kolpak-deal with English County side Nottinghamshire a year early to return to Zimbabwe shows how committed he is to playing for his country.
The stance taken by ZC against Taylor comes in the wake of its poor treatment of former national coach Heath Streak, the country’s failure to qualify for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.
It’s high time ZC started looking themselves in the mirror and be honest with themselves. They should not instead shift blame whenever there is a problem.