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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 January 2006, 12:07 GMT
Zimbabwe's players suspend strike
Zimbabwe batsman Brendon Taylor
We think it is only right to keep the door open
Players' representative Clive Field
Zimbabwe's cricketers have put strike action on hold following changes to the way the game is run in their country.

The national government took charge of Zimbabwe Cricket on Friday, although Peter Chingoka remains as chairman.

The players have accepted assurances that their contractual grievances will be addressed and agreed to suspend the strike until 31 January.

But their representative, Clive Field, said he was pessimistic about the issue being settled by that date.

"The guys don't feel for a second that it will be resolved by then, but the feeling is that this is better way of keeping the pressure on than by just walking away.

"They've put their pockets in front of their principles in the hopes that they can persevere and preserve their income," he commented.

"For the sake of three weeks the players felt they should give the negotiations another chance."

The dissolution of the country's cricket board was announced by Brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze, chairman of the Sports and Recreation Commission.

But he warned the government would not be "held to ransom by individuals", even if that meant losing Test status.

Such a prospect was greeted with dismay by Field.


"The players feel that Test status is paramount. If we don't have Test cricket, we have no jobs and we have no financial security," he said.

"They feel they should do everything in their power to keep Test status, and clearly if they all walk off the job today it won't be long before that is taken away."

The strike began on 22 December, with the players seeking the removal of Chingoka and ZC managing director Ozias Bvute, as well demanding action over their contracts, which have been signed by only six members of a 40-strong national squad.

The game's world governing body, the International Cricket Council, has so far declined to intervene.

But Zimbabwe's status could be debated at a meeting in Karachi next week.

They have played 83 Tests since being granted full membership of the ICC 13 years ago, but the last few years have seen a downturn in their fortunes, with 21 of their last 25 Tests ending in defeat.

At the same time, there have been constant problems off the pitch because of the policies pursued by the Mugabe government, the administrative record of the cricket board and selection policy for the national team.

Zimbabwe are due to return to action in May, when they have a tour scheduled to the West Indies.

Zimbabwe cricket in fresh crisis
06 Jan 06 |  Zimbabwe
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22 Dec 05 |  Zimbabwe
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16 Dec 05 |  Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe players decide to strike
22 Dec 05 |  Zimbabwe
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24 Nov 05 |  Zimbabwe


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