Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket has been overshadowed by another player-board rift after the national body expressed "concern and regret" over comments by former captain Tatenda Taibu comparing the current setup to a newly-painted house with rotten foundations.
On the eve of the troubled African country's first Test in six years -- one-off match against Bangladesh, starting today -- Zimbabwe Cricket said the timing of Taibu's "public outburst" was "unfortunate, if not a little cynical."
In a surprise attack, the wicketkeeper-batsman, who is set to play against Bangladesh, said in an interview with a cricket website that the problems that forced Zimbabwe into a damaging, self-imposed exile from tests remained.
Taibu said in the interview that players haven't been paid match fees since last August, didn't have contracts and administrators were still struggling to run cricket. The game was in danger of dying in Zimbabwe and players and coaches were getting little help from the people in charge.
Some of Taibu's comments -- two days before Zimbabwe's first Test since a 2-0 home series loss to India in late 2005 -- were also made to a group of reporters.
On Wednesday, Zimbabwe Cricket denied players hadn't been paid salaries but conceded match fees "have been deferred from time to time while cash flow improves with our return to international cricket."
It added: "There are many thousands of people less well off than Tatenda who could be seriously harmed by his comments."
But it also said the 28-year-old Taibu, who has played 24 Tests and 136 One-day Internationals, would still be in the team against Bangladesh as one of Zimbabwe's few experienced players.