The Standard reports that Zimbabwe Cricket have terminated the contract of ex-coach Phil Simmons, although Simmons is disputing the legality of the move:
"On Friday ZC, through their lawyers Wintertons, wrote Simmons informing him they were ending their association, which started in 2003, when the former West Indies all-rounder joined the CFX Academy as head coach." ... "Yesterday, [Simmons] maintained he was legally the national coach, declaring his dismissal was void as it was in violation of the ZC constitution. In fact, Simmons had, on Thursday, even pitched-up at a meeting to select the team for this week's Kenya series, where Zimbabwe was, for the first time represented by two coaches for the exercise. Kevin Curran is current coach."
In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, former MCA Chairman Tavengwa Mukhulani claims he was 'hounded out' of his post and bemoans the continued political maneuverings in the game:
"There is a lot of politics in the province. At some point, you feel that you need to move on and contribute in some other way. I had a long discussion with the Zimbabwe Cricket chairman (Peter Chingoka) and at the end he accepted that I was doing the right thing."
The Financial Gazette has the match dates for Kenya's visit to Zimbabwe. 3 matches will be played - two 3-day games starting on October 12th and 16th, and a one-day match on October 20th. All games are against Zimbabwe A.
They also list the first match of the SA Provincial Pool, against KwaZulu Natal starting on October 20th - although as noted below, Zimbabwe's participation in this tournament hasn't been officially confirmed yet.
Ambitious International Cricket Programme
Update: dates updated as per Monday's article in Kenya's The Nation.
The Herald reports that Zimbabwe Cricket have reached agreement with Cricket South Africa for a Zimbabwe A team to play in SA's reserve league. The league is played as two pools of six teams each, playing both limited-overs and three-day games. Zimbabwe will play in pool B, along with Boland, Eastern Province, Western Province Border and KwaZulu Natal, with their first game due to be played on October 20.
Zimbabwe Rejoin SA Cricket Reserve League
Update: It seems ZC may have jumped the gun a bit here - when contacted by CricInfo, Cricket SA would only say
"Nothing is concrete and nothing has been agreed."
Zimbabwe Cricket and the Zimbabwe Professional Cricketers' Association have yet to agree terms of new contracts for national team players, although negotiations are still continuing. Speaking to CricInfo, players' representative Clive Field reported that progress, though slow, was being made:
"We are all agreed on the need for contracts to be finalised as soon as possible, and ZC want them finalised by the end of the week. We are hoping to get the new contracts drafted by Friday, although (mediator George) Makings is of the opinion that these deadlines might not be realistic."
Meanwhile, Neil Ferriera, who along with Barney Rogers and Stuart Carlisle had his offer of a contract withdrawn by ZC at the beginning of September, is now back in the fold:
"An apology for an emotional outburst got Neil's contract offer reinstated. The ZPCA still feel the situation is unsatisfactory, however, because the three players were punished for outbursts which were made at a private players' meeting. But we can only fight it if the players come to us and ask us to help them get back into the fold, like Ferreira did."
CricInfo reports the resignation of Mashonaland Cricket Association chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani, along with rumours of the reignation of Clive Barnes from the Zimbabwe Cricket board & a split between the remaining board members:
"The rumour mill is now in overdrive, with the ZC board said to be divided into two camps, one headed by Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bvute and the other by Ahmed and Macsood Ebrahim. While there appears to be little doubt that the two have fallen out, just how deep the rift is remains unclear."
BBC Sport picks up on Kenya's difficulties in arranging full ODI matches, quoting Kenya Cricket Association chairman Samir Inamdar's comments on Zimbabwe and Bangladesh's refusal to play full one-day internationals against Kenya:
"Both have given us the same reasons. We have to take them with a pinch of salt."
I would have thought ZC should be jumping at the chance of competitive matches at the moment...
Kenya Snubbed by Two Test Nations
CricInfo has an opinion piece wondering if Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are going out of their way to avoid playing full ODI matches against Kenya:
"...it appears that both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are reluctant to look down, possibly fearing that if the unthinkable was to happen and they were to lose to Kenya, then the pressure on the ICC to act would grow even greater. ... In expanding the list of countries who can play full ODIs - five more join Kenya from January 1 - the ICC took a big and commendable step towards expanding the international game. But while it steadfastly refuses to be drawn into the debate on Zimbabwe or Bangladesh's Test status, it has to start flexing a few muscles in a bid to persuade them to start taking on the best of the rest."
The Herald has a feature on Hamilton Maskadza, from his promising debut against West Indies in 2001 to his disappointing recent outings:
"National cricket team captain Tatenda Taibu believes Masakadza will only become a world-class Test batsman if he bats better in the first innings."
Generally a positive piece, though, on one of Zimbabwe's more talented players.
Masakadza Needs to Get Going in First Innings
CricInfo reports that there was no play in the Mashonaland Vigne Cup this weekend, as the teams involved refused to play:
"The opening weekend of the Mashonaland Vigne Cup, Zimbabwe's oldest club competition, was scrapped as the clubs sought to highlight their unhappiness with Zimbabwe Cricket's running of the game in general, and what they claim to be its interference with the Mashonaland Cricket Association in particular."