Is it all doom and gloomy?

HARARE - Just as we were anticipating a much needed tour by Zimbabwe A to Bangladesh, the Bangladesh cricket board put a proverbial spanner in the works by informing Zimbabwe Cricket that the already agreed tour could not go ahead due to the fact that the months of June and July were the months Bangladesh normally received their monsoons and bad weather.

The first question that came to me was, how on earth could the BCB propose these dates knowing that these months would cause total havoc with the entire country, let alone a game of cricket?

Understandably, Zimbabwe Cricket were firmly on the back foot, a position which by now they have become accustomed to.

Even though it didn’t affect the senior players, this recent development was a major setback as a number of the A squad who had been selected were either pressing for a place in the national team, or trying to cement their place in the national side.

Visions of the Possibles playing the Probables were beginning to form in people’s minds, which in truth would have been nothing more than a glorified net session.

So when the news broke that Afghanistan would be touring the country later this month, flagging spirits were once again raised at the prospect of international cricket.

Granted, Afghanistan aren’t a team you would wanting to be playing when preparing to do battle against South Africa and Australia, but due to the crippling position we find ourselves in, the age old but so true saying of beggars can’t be choosers fits us and our situation like a silken glove.

So what are the benefits of playing a team who are still trying to establish themselves at international level?

We ourselves are in a similar situation in the sense that we are not playing enough cricket, and when we do, we more often than not get a sound thrashing when playing one of the stronger nations, and when playing the lesser nations, we barely get over the line.

Although some of these concerns do bare merit, the fact that Zimbabwe will at least be playing some sort of cricket leading up to this very important tournament is the first benefit.

Secondly, if Zimbabwe A’s tour to Bangladesh had gone ahead, several of the players would have gone into the matches against South Africa and Australia badly undercooked and rusty.

Afghanistan’s tour however, now gives the selectors a real opportunity to look at a number of players and options.

Both squads will now be able to state a case for selection, thanks to four ODIs in Bulawayo which will give the senior players a chance to get themselves into a bit of form, while the two four-day matches in Harare may possibly force the selectors to disregard those senior players who under performed in the ODIs, and in replace them with younger players who impressed in the four-day games when selecting the squad to play the Proteas and Australia.

The perfect start to the season would be convincing wins over Afghanistan, but we all know that cricket is very unpredictable, and the slightest sign of complacency may just leave Zimbabwe with egg on their faces against a team who has overcome all forms of adversity.


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