We're in desperate need of a genuine fast bowler

HARARE - Although Sunday's performance was a considerable improvement, the record books will still show that Zimbabwe were beaten by seven wickets.

A seven-wicket loss is still a heavy defeat, regardless of the total Zimbabwe posted.

Looking at some of the positives, it is pleasing to see some of the slightly younger players putting their hands up and vindicating their selection with consistent performances so far.

Malcolm Waller has shown that he is quite capable of knuckling down and occupying the crease. But, he is just as capable of scoring runs at a rapid rate, similar to his father who was a ferocious striker of a cricket ball.

Waller's quick fire 26 of just 16 balls gave the innings some much needed momentum.

Hamilton Masakadza and Craig Ervine did an outstanding job as they went about rebuilding the innings which threatened to crumble after the successive dismissals of Vusi Sibanda and Brendan Taylor.

Masakadza, who up to now had been struggling for form, brought all his experience to the party, as he first of all ensured the loss of no further wickets, and then increased the tempo.

But the one player who deserves a special mention is Craig Ervine.

Not only has he been consistent with scores of 41 and 80 respectively, but the manner in which he has gone about scoring the runs has been most impressive.

Craig has sometimes allowed bowlers to dictate terms to him and he has been guilty of been rooted to the crease and not moving his feet to the spinners.

But Sunday saw a very different Craig Ervine as he showed positive intent from the very start of his innings, running hard and capitalising on any opportunity that came his way.

Up to recent times, Craig has pretty much played in the shadow of his older brother Sean, who was a former player for Zimbabwe but now plays county cricket for Hampshire.

The only criticism of the Masakadza-Ervine partnership was that they only managed 22 runs off the final batting power play when one of them should have been prepared to step on the accelerator.

But you have to commend Zimbabwe for recovering to 273 when they may very possibly have collapsed after Vusi Sibanda got them off to a good start.

Another player who deserves a big wrap is Natsai Mushangwe. When looking at him, he appears to come across as been bored and disinterested in his surroundings, but this observation couldn't be further from the truth.

Yes, in the past he has been guilty of not pulling his weight, often preferring the shade and comfort of the change rooms, instead of bowling or batting in the nets when he was not included in the playing XI.

But Mushangwe seems to have undergone a transformation for the better. His enthusiasm is clear for all to see, and he seems to be able to cope very well under pressure.

It also wouldn't be a bad idea to promote Mushangwe ahead of Kyle Jarvis and Prosper Utseya in the batting order.

The one area of real and genuine concern is the seam bowling department.

Not one of the seamers have looked threatening at all in the first two ODIs. Granted, the wicket has been an excellent one to bat on, but the seamers have looked very flat and haven't posed any form of threat.

Both Kyle Jarvis and Chris Mpofu have been bowling well within themselves, choosing to concentrate on taking pace off the ball instead of running in and bending their backs.

A slower ball is a must have delivery in a bowler's armoury of deliveries, especially in the shorter forms of the game.

But it should be used as a surprise ball and not as regularly as the two front line seamers are currently using it with.

If you look at the world's leading fast bowlers, you will see that they run in and give it everything they have. Relying on their pace and skill, and of course the Yorker, which they seem to be able to bowl at will.

The reason why they are able to bowl the yorker at will is because they spend hours perfecting the art of what is known as death bowling.

To add to the toothless seam attack, the fielding is still a major concern and has been for a number of years.

Fielding is a non-negotiable area of the game that has to be constantly worked on.

There is absolutely no excuse for poor fielding. None whatsoever!

You cannot blame the lack of game time or facilities or equipment for fielding.

It is something that has to be practiced and worked on all the time.

There are times when we have seen sheer brilliants in the field, such as the breathtaking catch Vusi Sibanda took on Sunday, which counted for nothing as Tendai Chatara had overstepped the line.

Sadly, the brilliance is heavily outweighed by the countless miss-fields, drop catches and lack of attention to detail. - Dean du Plessis

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.