Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) on Saturday termed batsman Sikandar Raza Butt’s post regarding the board’s decision to not offer him a new contract as “false and misleading”. Raja had on Friday tweeted that his agent had informed him that ZC’s acting managing director, Givemore Makani had apparently not offered him a contract and that he would not be considered for selection for Zimbabwe’s upcoming tours of South Africa and Bangladesh. According to Raza, he and his agent had not been appraised of the reasons for this decision.

In a detailed statement issued on Saturday, the cricket board said that Raza was indeed not offered a new central contract, but that the call had been taken by the board’s Contracts Committee and not the acting MD, Makoni.

“For the record, we can confirm that Raza was not among the players offered new central contracts. This decision was made solely by ZC’s Contracts Committee and not by the Acting Managing Director, Mr Givemore Makoni, as Raza alleges in his posts,” the statement from the Zimbabwe Cricket read.

“However, what Mr Makoni has done in the past – and Raza knows this – was to help Raza’s career by having him play for Southern Rocks which Mr Makoni was managing while he also supported Raza’s move to get Zimbabwean citizenship. Raza also knows what he did resulted in him not getting a new ZC contract. Normally, contracts are a confidential matter between employer and employee, but because Raza has gone public we are also having to respond publicly.”

“First, Raza had a contract with ZC which he brazenly flouted by going to play club cricket in England without first obtaining a no-objection certificate (NOC) from ZC as is the standard practice in the professional game worldwide. Secondly, when he did apply for a NOC which was turned down because Zimbabwe needed his services, Raza subsequently and unilaterally terminated his running contract with ZC so he could play in a domestic tournament in Canada,” the statement further said.

In ZC’s views, in choosing to tweet on the matter of his non-selection, Raza has chosen to “create a storm in a teacup by mounting a social media publicity stunt meant to portray ZC, its board, management and staff in bad light”.

The 32-year-old was advised by the team’s manager to engage in a conversation with the board regarding his discord. However, Raza taking it to the social media, the board too has come out in its defence.

“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss employee issues in the media beyond making the necessary announcements. But when one deliberately misleads the unsuspecting public or makes patently false allegations that seek to tarnish the image of ZC and bring the game of cricket into disrepute, we, unfortunately, have to deviate from the norm,” read the statement from ZC.

The cricket board further said that while it understands Raza’s disappointment at not getting a new central contract, “we wish to remind him that ZC, as the custodian of the national game of cricket in Zimbabwe, has the prerogative to make decisions to take the sport forward”.