ZC must reward top performers

HARARE - Let's face it, Zimbabwe’s overall series win over Bangladesh was far from being perfect, but Brendan Taylor and hid men have every reason to feel pleased with the outcome.

Coming from the forgettable West Indies tour, and then recovering to win the ODI series and drawing the other two versions of the game – against a side fresh from a closely-contested series with a very good Sri Lanka side – can only be a good thing for a team like Zimbabwe, which seldom win at international level.

Even more important, the most pleasing aspect of the series was the manner of the wins by Zimbabwe.

They thoroughly dominated the first Test, winning by 335 runs inside four days, proving quite formidable in home conditions.

And having lost the first one-dayer, it was refreshing to see this Zimbabwe side, for once, pick up the pieces and bat so maturely and professionally to successfully chase down totals, as they did in the second and third ODIs to clinch a rare series win.

The many hours of hard work they have put into that aspect of their game over the past couple of months since the West Indies debacle was abundantly evident.

Then there was that dramatic win in the first Twenty20 in which Tinashe Panyangara bowled a terrific final over to guide the hosts to a nerve-wrecking win.

When you sit back and think, you’ll see how the contributions of the fringe members of the team were very important throughout the series.

Shingi Masakadza, who was not even a certain starter and had question marks hanging over his head after he was picked for the first Test, bowled like a warrior and contributed crucially with the bat, as so did Keegan Meth.

Both are not centrally-contracted by Zimbabwe Cricket and came into the series on five-month winter contracts.

Another player on a winter contract, Sean Williams, put aside the disappointment of being left out of the Tests and justified his talent with two half-centuries that helped steer Zimbabwe to the ODI series victory.

Not forgetting Tendai Chatara and Tinashe Panyangara, who bowled commendably well  in the limited overs on a Queens Sports Club wicket not known for being seam friendly.

We can even go back further than the Bangladesh series to highlight the contributions of these “lesser” players to Zimbabwe’s cause.  

Craig Ervine was the biggest success story amid the West Indies gloom, but when he asked for a central contact which he thoroughly deserved, he was turned down, and Zimbabwe lost another potential match-winner when he chose to take his talent to the England club scene.

It cannot be overemphasised that for a country with the smallest pool of the Test-playing nations, Zimbabwe need all their eligible players to be available for selection all the time if they are to maintain a level.

ZC will be better advised if they lure back Ervine on a central contract and also find ways of elevating the likes of Shingi Masakadza, Keegan Meth, Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara and Tinashe Panyangara.

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