Doors open for sacked players: Zimbabwe Cricket Union

The 15 sacked white players missed meeting Sri Lanka but can still play the touring Australia side, Zimbabwe Cricket Union said.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Harare:The 15 sacked white players missed meeting Sri Lanka but can still play the touring Australia side, Zimbabwe Cricket Union chief executive Vincent Hogg has said. "All they have to do is to notify us of their willingness to practice and be available for selection," Hogg said. He said the players could do this individually or as a group. They would also be allowed to play on contract or be paid for matches they choose to play in against Australia, which arrives tomorrow for a tour of two Tests and three one-day internationals. The Aussies will also play a three-day match against a depleted Zimbabwe A on Monday. He said the "door is still open" for the players if they showed commitment to Zimbabwe cricket. "Naturally they will have to show commitment, form and fitness to get back into the national side." "I really hope they return because what has happened these last two weeks is very saddening," Hogg added. "But it can be repaired." The row began a month ago when Heath Streak was removed as team captain after he demanded changes to the national selection panel. Hogg said contrary to reports, Streak told him he would retire from all forms of cricket if his demands were not met. When they were rejected, union chairman Peter Chingoka announced a decision to remove Streak "by accepting his resignation." Streak insists he has not resigned. The players have boycotted the national team since then, and Zimbabwe has lost all five one-day matches and the first test to the touring Sri Lankans. The 15 dissident players continued making threats to quit, and the union sacked them on Monday, notifying the players while they were meeting to prepare a letter accepting mediation. Hogg denied the move was pre-emptive and vindictive. "They were all well aware that an ultimatum for them to return or face action had expired ... so they could hardly have been taken by surprise," Hogg said. He said the players had changed their stance since an April 22 meeting where Streak signed a joint press statement saying he had entered into mediation with the union. "Then it all seemed to change. Now the players are suddenly concerned about their sponsored cars and other perks." He said the players' contracts clearly stated that the union reserved the right to choose the captain and selectors. Hogg said the union had decided to pay the first year's costs to run a Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers' Association and 50 per cent per year thereafter. Players will be allowed to elect a representative to "assist with any future conflict resolution" and should be appointed by the end of June, Hogg said. None of the 15 were chosen in the starting 11 against Sri Lanka for the tour-ending second test which begins on Friday at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo. (AP)

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