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It's easier to play cricket than clean toilets: Price

by Byo24News
18 Feb 2011 at 10:16hrs | Views
CHENNAI: He is the grandfather of the team. Ray Price, 34, has been there with the Zimbabwean team for last nine years. He has gone through the ups and downs and dealt with several non-cricketing issues which had affected Zimbabwean cricket. The team is undergoing a rebuilding process and a senior pro like him has a lot more to do than just play for his country. 
Excerpts from an interview: 
You have been representing Zimbabwe for a long time, but you suddenly took a break from international cricket in 2004. 
I wasn't happy with the way Zimbabwean cricket was functioning. I was offered a job at Worcestershire and I was playing county cricket there. It was a good opportunity for me to get tested in different conditions as I never played cricket in England. I learnt a lot as a cricketer and the stint with team made me a lot more professional. But things started changing around Zimbabwean cricket after some years and I got a job offer from the board. Worcestershire had extended my contract, but for me playing for the country has been a priority and I didn't think twice before heading back to Zimbabwe. 
Was there any lack of professional setup in the country? 
My problems were more personal. There were guys like Andy Flower in the team, so there was no such problem. 
When you talk about Zimbabwean cricket, is there any sort of contract that the players are offered? How does it work? 
Basically, we have the franchises and we get the offer from them. So the franchises get the money from Zimbabwe Cricket Board (ZCB) to run their organizations. There are five franchises and each of them has 15 contracted players. We play the four-day competitions, Twenty20 and 50-over game. We also play 40-over game at the domestic level now. 
Did you have to work for your living? 
Yes, I worked till 24 because I was an amateur cricketer at that time. During my amateur days, I used to clean toilets and fix air-conditioners. It wasn't exactly a lucrative job after all. It's easier to play cricket than cleaning toilets. 
You are a player who has seen two sides of Zimbabwean cricket - the best phase and the lean phase do you think things are falling into place again? 
When all the seniors left, it created a massive crisis. Australia have been dominating world cricket for several years, but if you take out seven of their main 11 players, what will happen to them? It was a big blow for Zimbabwe and it will take some time to recover and get back on the right track. Now, we are better placed and the franchise system has helped cricket grow rapidly. Now a lot of the guys are 23 or 24 years old and then grow older and play international for some more time. Zimbabwe will emerge as a different outfit. 
Being one of senior-most players in the team, do you also play the mentor's role? 
Yeah, definitely. I enjoy the role and tell the young guys to take things as they come because at the end of the day, it's just a game. There will always be some people who make noise, but for a professional cricketer, it is important not to listen to them. Youngsters should practise hard to deliver at their best. 
World Cup is a very big event in a country like India. There is a lot of excitement about it. How is the scene back home? 
There is a lot of excitement back home. Soccer is the main sport in Zimbabwe, but people have started taking interest in cricket, which is definitely a big plus for us. Moreover, several sponsors are coming forward to offer financial help to the team. So things are definitely moving upward. 
What will be Zimbabwe's realistic target in the World Cup? 
To upset a major team. As long as we play good cricket, we always hold a fair chance to beat a better team and qualify for the next round.

Source - Byo24News