Have a heart please, India

HARARE - Zimbabwe have just concluded a tour with mixed results against Bangladesh, drawing the Test match series, then coming from behind to win the ODI series, and drawing the Twenty20 series.

In all, the tour can probably be best described as satisfactory. Not bad, but, not the best either.

When the team had an off day, they were woeful. But, when they had a good day, they played some of the best team cricket we have seen for many years.

One of the many ingredients for consistency is game time.

Up to a few weeks ago, everybody was convinced that Zimbabwe would be able to build on their potential, and try to rectify their mistakes when India were set to arrive in the country for a short tour.

Then it was revealed that India were no longer touring, although sources in Zimbabwe Cricket emphatically deny these allegations, saying that the tour will be going ahead as planned.

The latest is that the tour is still in the balance, and, one sincerely hopes that the balance will shift in Zimbabwe's favour.

It has been well documented by several sectors of the media, players and administrators that Zimbabwe are in desperate need of international cricket, and, at the moment, this cannot be over emphasised.

The dilemma Zimbabwe cricket currently face, is that Indian cricket has been rocked by a series of serious allegations concerning match or spot fixing as it is now called.

So, one can probably be a little understanding and sympathetic towards India's plight.

So while one super power decides whether they want to go on what to them is probably a tour of very little if any significance, another team have gone into camp and are training as hard as they possibly can in the hope that maybe, just maybe India would show a bit of mercy, consideration and understanding and put smiles on faces of cricket deprived fans.

Not only would the fans benefit, but, Zimbabwe Cricket would also reap substantial financial rewards from the tour, which would go some way to settling outstanding debts and salaries.

So, should India relent and decide to tour Zimbabwe, will they send a weakened team? It is almost certain that they would do so.

In truth, Zimbabwe would probably be happy just to get out on the park and play some cricket, though surely a time must come when Zimbabwe will no longer be content to accept crumbs from the king’s table.

It is much more than just getting the much needed game time. It is also about developing the game, and, Zimbabwe can only get better by consistently playing strong opposition.

It will also be interested to see if Zimbabwe Cricket get their wish and play five ODIs instead of the three ODIs currently planned.

These extra requests however are of little importance at this particular point in time, as we all still collectively hold our breaths and await the outcome as India decide whether they want to play fair, or flex their muscles and be the school boy bullies. - Dean du Plessis

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