Zim post­pone tour­ney again

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

ZIM­BABWE’S do­mes­tic first-class com­pe­ti­tion has been post­poned for a third time this sea­son, with no con­fir­ma­tion of when fix­tures may re­sume.

The four-team, 12-round tour­na­ment has only had one com­pleted match so far af­ter player strikes and non-pay­ment of salaries.

Now an un­ex­plained post­pone­ment, os­ten­si­bly to con­cen­trate on the Zim­babwe Pre­mier League, a 40-over club com­pe­ti­tion that was go­ing to take place any­way, has got in the way of game time.

In an e-mail sent by Cae­sar Bond Nay­oto, Zim­babwe Cricket’s man­ager of do­mes­tic cricket and game devel­op­ment, and seen by ESPNcricinfo, ZC have de­cided to “fo­cus on the ZPL” and will cir­cu­late Lo­gan Cup fix­tures in “due course”.

A source ex­pected the com­pe­ti­tion to re­sume mid-Fe­bru­ary but ad­mit­ted play­ers were be­com­ing in­creas­ingly frus­trated at the lack of game time.

There has been no ex­pla­na­tion given to play­ers for the most re­cent post­pone­ment but it is known that it does not have any­thing to do with out­stand­ing pay­ments to play­ers.

Un­like ear­lier in the sea­son, when pro­vin­cial play­ers from the Mata­bele­land Tuskers went on strike and for­feited their match over un­paid salaries, play­ers have been paid. Rather, it is thought that lo­gis­ti­cal con­cerns from Zim­babwe Cricket’s side are pre­vent­ing matches from get­ting un­der­way.

For Zim­babwe’s na­tional play­ers, the in­ac­tion is a ma­jor con­cern not least be­cause they do not have any cricket sched­uled un­til at least the mid­dle of the year, when they are due to travel to Sri Lanka.

That means they will likely only have a se­ries or two in prepa­ra­tion for the 2019 World Cup qual­i­fier, which takes place in Bangladesh in March 2018 and with­out reg­u­lar game time, Zim­babwe fear they may miss out on the show­piece event.

“The of­fi­cials ex­pect the team to do bet­ter than other teams but then give them the worst prepa­ra­tion,” an in­sider said.

“For the play­ers, at the mo­ment it’s a case of train­ing and run­ning, play­ing a lit­tle bit and then just more train­ing. They are frus­trated.”

Na­tional coach Heath Streak is plan­ning a train­ing camp for the play­ers to com­pen­sate for the lack of the game time. De­tails are yet to be con­firmed.

The Lo­gan Cup is sched­uled to run un­til early May but the lat­est post­pone­ment could see it ex­tend fur­ther into the Zim­bab­wean win­ter, un­less some rounds are for­feited.

If fix­tures re­sume mid-Fe­bru­ary, the tour­na­ment could lose at least three rounds — ESPNCricinfo.

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