Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zimbabwe cricket players ‘bribed’ to tour Pakistan

Zimbabwean cricketers were effectively bribed to undertake a risky tour of Pakistan reports appear to suggest.

Media Talk: Head of ZCU delegation Mr. Ozias Bvute and Captain Elton Chigumbura
Media Talk: Head of ZCU delegation Mr. Ozias Bvute and Captain Elton Chigumbura

Nehanda Radio understands the Zimbabwean cricketers were given a guarantee of $12,500 each by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) before they agreed to the historic tour, the first by a Full Member team since March 2009.

The individual payments to the players came under the $500,000 the PCB paid Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) before the tour. The tour was made despite advice against it by the government run Sports and Recreation Committee (SRC).

Zimbabwean cricketers are reported to earn $6,500 a month at their maximum. They were initially offered $10 000 each for the tour and they declined citing the high risks involved. We understand this is why the ZC issued a press release on May 14, eight days before the first match, confirming the suspension of the tour.

A few hours later the ZC made a U-turn and said discussions were ongoing. It is then that an agreement was struck that saw most players get $12,500 each. It’s believed some players negotiated larger packages.

One report says the money was “paid in two amounts, the first on arrival and the second at the conclusion of the series, which could explain why Zimbabwe stayed on despite a suicide attack during their second ODI.”

There are claims that Ozias Bvute, the former managing director of ZC, played a role in securing the deals even though he resigned from his post in July 2012. His resignation followed his implication in the mismanagement of an ICC loan to ZC but he remained an advisor to the board.

There were doubts whether the five-match tour would go ahead after the massacre of 45 minority Shiites in an early May attack on a bus in Karachi.

It was the first visit by a Test-level team since seven Sri Lankan cricketers were wounded during a 2009 attack by militants in Lahore.

Following the attack, teams refused to tour Pakistan, who were forced to stage ‘home’ series in the United Arab Emirates.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) did not send neutral umpires for the Zimbabwe series, citing security concerns, and Pakistani officials were used.

Pakistan won both Twenty20 internationals and two one-day internationals with the third abandoned due to rain.