Zimbabwe Cricket will renege on its promise to clear all outstanding player and support staff salaries by July 25, because of the financial lifeline given to it at the ICC's annual conference in June.
While that sounds contradictory, the ICC's controlled spending plan, given to ZC at the June meeting, has resulted in what ZC called a "slowed down release of expected funds", which means it cannot fulfil its financial commitments. ZC and ICC are looking into fast-tracking some monies, as an exception, for salaries to be paid but whether that will happen will only be confirmed in the next two days.
In a statement released on Monday afternoon, ZC apologised to all affected and explained: "When the commitment to pay the salaries and match fees was made, ZC was not aware of the stringent measures that the International Cricket Council (ICC) would introduce as part of the controlled spending which has slowed down the release of expected funds.
"However, the ICC and ZC have worked on an interim arrangement to fast-track an exceptional payment specifically for staff and players. The exact details and timing of this payment will be known within 48 hours."
The non-payment of dues has already severely affected the team, which played a T20I tri-series involving Australia and Pakistan, and then a five-match ODI series against Pakistan with a depleted line-up. None of Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Graeme Cremer, Sean Williams or Craig Ervine were part of either series, due to the escalating fracas over pending salaries not being paid. On the eve of the Pakistan ODIs, Malcolm Waller pulled out of the squad as well.
While exact details of ZC's arrangement with the ICC have not been made public, ZC called them "stringent" but recognised the need for such a plan to "ensure good governance" and a "sustainable cricket future". A source who asked not to be named told ESPNcricinfo that the latter seems "further away than ever", with ZC on the verge of collapse, player discontent at all time high, and recent results reflecting the behind-the-scenes drama.
Zimbabwe do not play cricket for the next two months, with their next assignment a limited-overs tour of South Africa that starts on September 30. ESPNcricinfo understands that player availability for that series will depend on whether salaries are settled in the interim.
The ICC, on the other hand, were positive about the financial plan. At the time the decision was made, Shashank Manohar, the ICC chairman said: "I am satisfied we have mapped out a way forward to enable Zimbabwe Cricket to get back on track. It will require significant change to their financial, managerial and cricketing operations, along with support from the ICC."
ZC and the ICC are also working on payment proposals for creditors, which will help the beleaguered organisation crawl out of its debt, which is understood to be in the region of USD 18 million.