As New Zealand's national team continues to struggle in the ongoing ODI series against India, trouble is brewing in the country's domestic cricket circuit in Wellington with umpires threatening to go on strike over a pay dispute.
According to a report in The Dominion Post, "New Zealand's top umpires considered going on strike in the opening round of the domestic Twenty20 competition last week due to pay concerns."
"The elite umpiring panel has run out of patience with New Zealand Cricket and discussed not standing in the HRV Cup last Thursday," the newspaper said.
The umpires have since backed down a bit on their pay demands but New Zealand Cricket is in no mood to oblige.
"The umpires have hired a professional negotiator to renegotiate their contracts with NZC chief executive Justin Vaughan."
The elite panel comprises Gary Baxter, Barry Frost, Chris Gaffaney, Evan Gray, Phil Jones, Tim Parlane, Derek Walker, Evan Watkin and the international pair of Tony Hill and Brent Bowden.
Baxter, Frost, Gaffaney, Gray, Jones, Parlane, Walker and Watkin earn around 40,000 dollars.
New Zealand Cricket Players' Association chief Heath Mills confirmed the umpires and NZC are on collision course.
"I'm aware they are in discussions with NZC about their contracting environment and it's important they are looked after given the role they have in the game," Mills said.
"If they are talking about not umpiring that is not a good result for anyone and illustrates the relationship is not great and needs some work.
"Hopefully, common sense prevails and NZC and the umpires get around the table and create some sort of contract or environment that everyone is happy with."