As Zimbabwe's players completed their preparations for Thursday's Test against Bangladesh, an unfortunate confrontation could not be avoided as their chairman of selectors and their most senior player held an animated debate close by.

On the outfield of Harare Sports Club, Alistair Campbell and Tatenda Taibu exchanged views in full view of the players and a plethora of bystanders following Taibu's comments about Zimbabwe Cricket on Tuesday.

Taibu laid into the Zimbabwe Cricket administration, claiming that little has changed since the dark days when cricket in the country almost died.

"I don't think much has changed really, the administration is still struggling to run cricket in the country well," he said. "For example, the guys haven't been paid their match fees from August last year up to now. At the moment I am sitting here without a contract, no-one has got a contract so those are all things that the administration is struggling to deal with.

"When you walk around and you see a house that's painted well, you will think that house is really standing strong but if does not have a strong foundation, it will fall down one day or another. Zimbabwe Cricket has just painted a house that's about to fall."

It was a surprising outburst from a player two days before his country was to return to Test cricket but it has drawn attention to the fact that, underneath the surface, things are not quite as rosy as they might seem.

Players have not received their match fees from international matches played in the last year, including at the recent World Cup, as Zimbabwe Cricket is hit by a major cashflow crisis.

Having been forced to take out massive loans to bankroll the new franchise system, which remains almost entirely funded by Zimbabwe Cricket, the organisation is finding that cricket can be an expensive game to run.

Taibu's comments merely alluded to some of the problems being felt, and drew an angry response from Campbell when he made an appearance on the Inside Edge cricket programme in South Africa on Tuesday night, with the chairman of selectors calling it "a slap in the face".

While he told Cricket365 that Taibu would not be dropped from the Test side, Campbell promised to "have it out" with the wicketkeeper-batsman, leading to a heated 15-minute debate on Wednesday afternoon.

"We had a robust conversation and he's expressed his views while I have mine, and that's okay," he told this website. "It doesn't impact on him being our best wicketkeeper-batsman and hopefully he'll go out there tomorrow to win us a Test match.

"With freedom of expression you're entitled to have your say and he did that, but I disagree with the timing of it. I don't think that he's done himself or Zimbabwe cricket any favours by what he said. I don't think he fully understood the fallout that would come from this.

"It doesn't help from a sponsor's perspective, a supporter's perspective, there was a whole heap of stuff that concentrated on what he thought was the right thing to say but was maybe a bit naive. Also it was maybe a bit of mischievous reporting - I don't see why people would want to bring this up so close to us returning to Test cricket, but I suppose that's the prerogative of an independent press."

Campbell confirmed that the players are still owed match fees, and said that the reason why they have not been given contracts is a change in the seasonal pattern.

"It's no secret that the guys haven't been paid their money, it's not revelationary," he continued. "They've all been paid their monthly retainers and everyone has signed a training contract. They're out of (permanent) contract at the moment because we've pushed back our season to the start of September, so that's when the contracts will start.

"Maybe Zimbabwe Cricket should have organised contracts a bit better but it's nothing to make a big deal of. It's not ideal that the players haven't been paid their match fees but there's a cashflow issue in this global economic crisis which has left a lot of other boards in debt.

"They will be paid, and it will be easier as soon as we get more international cricket here. It's not ideal, but it doesn't have to come out in an article like that that it's all doom and gloom and Zimbabwe Cricket's caving in.

"The bottom line is that Zimbabwe Cricket should have paid those match fees but we're not reneging on it, we're saying that we're struggling for cash at the moment with all of these inbound tours and we've got bills to pay, but as soon as we free up some cash we'll get some cash to them."

Campbell stressed that he was annoyed Taibu had not approached him directly rather than coming out in the media, and said that Zimbabwe Cricket were looking at introducing between 12 and 15 central contracts in the near future.

It's a dispute that might have been avoided if Zimbabwe had a players' association, something which Zimbabwe Cricket said it was open to in a statement issued late on Wednesday.

"We are happy to involve a third party as a players' representative and, indeed, an independent mediator," it read. "We would like Tatenda to participate in this process."

Tristan Holme in Harare

Twitter: @tristanholme