Festival was not much fun for Oram

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:04 22/05/2012
Jacob Oram
Maarten Holl/ FAIRFAX NZ
RETURNING ALLROUNDER: Jacob Oram.

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A "Mickey Mouse" organisation has left Black Cap Jacob Oram out of pocket and still awaiting match payments from a festival match in Canada two weeks ago.

Oram appeared in a one-off match for an international XI against an Asia XI in Toronto last week, but all the players were still to be paid and to have their travel costs reimbursed.

It wasn't the same amount of money that the Indian Premier League offers, but the organisers had gone back on their word and no-one had received payment.

"I'm not pulling my hair out but I'm extremely disappointed," Oram said.

"The way things played out over there, the financial side of things is very much an annoyance. We were kind of sucked into playing this match; [it was] about playing cricket in Canada. But we were taken for a ride by, in basic description, amateurs."

Oram said the more high-profile players had expected more than $10,000 to play, but they still hadn't seen any sign of it.

The players paid for their flights after being promised reimbursement. It took 46 hours to get to Toronto via Sydney and Abu Dhabi.

Oram said he had never experienced anything like it, and would do more research before signing up for something like it again.

He said the game itself, played in a baseball stadium on artificial turf, was a shambles.

They had only a dozen cricket balls to share between the two teams in the warmup, while the coach of his side, former Zimbabwean Grant Flower, 41, had to be dragged in to play so they could field a full team.

They were to receive a payment before the game, but it never showed and that was when the players smelt something fishy.

West Indian great Brian Lara was to play for the international XI but pulled out at the last minute because he hadn't received any money, so he sat in the dugout and watched the game.

"At the time I think a few eyebrows were raised, but as it turns out, he could see into the future."

The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations and players' agents are working on recovering the match payments from the organising company, Kat Rose Inc, but Oram wasn't holding his breath.

"At the end of the day we've got very little to show for it apart from the experience."

Black Caps Kyle Mills and Tim Southee were also in the international team that played, along with South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher and Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya, who have both come out in protest at not being paid.

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Oram said they may have been a bit naive but fingers should be pointed at the organisers.

The Asia XI was meant to feature a number of Pakistani players, but they pulled out, which was supposedly the reason no players were paid because it had led to investors pulling out.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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