Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) have expressed their concern over Tatenda Taibu’s comments regarding the country’s readiness to return to Test cricket – but the wicketkeeper will face no sanctions.
Taibu likened the country’s cricketing structure to a house lacking strong foundations and “about to fall”, and alleged that players’ match fees were still owed from last August.
A statement signed by ZC’s managing director, Ozias Bvute, and chairman of selectors, Alastair Campbell, described his comments as “harmful” and their timing as “cynical”, but they attempted to play down their impact ahead of their return to the five-day arena against Bangladesh.
“Zimbabwe Cricket would like to express its concern and regret over the comments made by former captain Tatenda Taibu in an article on Cricinfo on Tuesday,” they wrote. “So many people have worked tirelessly and selflessly to rebuild cricket in this country throughout an extremely difficult economic period and for Tatenda to claim that their collective efforts have been worthless – and that nothing has changed – is dispiriting in the extreme.
“We would like to address every one of Tatenda’s grievances as soon as the Test match is over – and those of any team member. We have already started the process of improving our mechanisms for communication whereby the players will be able to speak to the administrators and express their concerns in a clear and forthright manner, and without fear of repercussion or reprisal. “We are happy to involve a third party as a players’ representative and, indeed, an independent mediator. We would like Tatenda to participate in this process. And while the ICC’s chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, is here to witness our return to Test cricket, we will be extending an invitation for him to talk to our players.”
The statement continued: “The timing of Tatenda’s comments are unfortunate, if not a little cynical. In any other country a senior player could expect significant sanction from his board for such a public outburst. But we see little point in doing that and wish him the very best in the Test match. He is one of our finest cricketers.
“Neither Tatenda nor any of the other national players have ever not been paid their monthly salary. Match fees, paid over and above salaries, have been deferred from time to time while cash-flow improves with our return to international cricket. Tatenda is in an extremely privileged position and his monthly salary places him in the top one percent of the population.
“There are many thousands of people less well off than Tatenda who could be seriously harmed by his comments.
“Cricket in Zimbabwe is not “dying.” We are still building, but every aspect of the game, from the numbers of professional players to the interest from sponsors, shows a graph on the way up. And we are all committed to further growth and success.”
Taibu had earlier claimed: “I don’t think much has changed really, the administration is still struggling to run cricket in the country well.“For example, the guys haven’t been paid their match fees from August last year up to now.“At the moment, I am sitting here without a contract, no one has got a contract; those are all things that the administration is struggling to deal with.
“When you walk around and you see a house that’s painted well, you will think that house is really standing strong but if does not have a strong foundation, it will fall down one day or another.
“Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has just painted a house that’s about to fall.”