Harare - The final one-day international between Zimbabwe and Pakistan on Saturday looks set to go ahead after Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) fended off another proposed player strike over unpaid wages on Friday.
ZC had promised that all money owing to the players, who have not been paid since the end of June, would be settled by Wednesday after the players refused to train ahead of Pakistan’s tour. However the board failed to meet that deadline, sparking further conversations among the players when they arrived for training on Friday morning. The players took part in some planning sessions for Saturday’s third ODI, but threatened to boycott the match if the money owed to them was not in their accounts by 5pm (1500 GMT).
Although that has not happened, it is believed that transfers were made by ZC in front of a group of senior players on Friday afternoon. One player told AFP that he expected Saturday’s match to go ahead, but that a collective decision would only be made when Zimbabwe’s cricketers arrived at Harare Sports Club in the morning. However should ZC, who are swaddled with debt, continue to stall then the players may issue a new ultimatum for next week’s Test match.
The first Test of a two-match series is due to get underway in Harare on Tuesday. In the meantime, should they take the field on Saturday Zimbabwe will have the opportunity to inflict their first ever one-day series victory over Pakistan. Having endured the ignominy of a seven-wicket defeat to Zimbabwe in the first ODI on Tuesday, Pakistan bounced back to win the second match by 90 runs thanks largely to Mohammad Hafeez’s classy century.
However Misbah-ul-Haq’s side know that they are not out of the woods, and are determined to avoid another indelible black mark on their record from a side who are ranked tenth in the world and have clashed regularly with their own board over the course of the past five months. “Playing against such teams can be difficult because when you lose to them, the defeat is remembered for a long time,” said Umar Amin, who made 59 on Thursday. “Saturday’s game is very crucial - a series decider - so we need to win it.”