What excuses do we come up with this time around?

HARARE - When Afghanistan arrived in the country, two questions were asked by all cricket lovers.

The first question was, how much preparation would we really get by playing a team such as Afghanistan before meeting both South Africa and Australia?

The second question was.

How seriously would Zimbabwe take these matches, especially if they won the first two matches convincingly?

Unfortunately, I have been unable to attend these matches in Bulawayo due to a number of reasons, but thanks to the various social platforms, I have been able to keep close tabs on proceedings at Queens.

The first observation was that for some inexplicable reason, only three seamers were picked for this series.

Queens Sports Club isn't the greatest of pitches for seamers to bowl on, but you still need a well-balanced team at all times, regardless of the opposition and conditions.

South Africa have just proven through Dale Steyn, who took nine wickets in the first Test in Galle, Sri Lanka, that pace is vital if you're wanting to win matches.

Brian Vitori, who was said to have sustained an injury, so why was he not replaced with another seamer?

The name Michael Chinouya springs to mind.

There also seems to be a great deal of uncertainty as to the top order, and as to who should bat in which position.

The top three is crucial in all forms of the game, and the sooner it is dealt with the better as players will be able to function and focus on what they have to do to either improve or get back into the national side.

We have seen Elton Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller and Timycen Maruma batting at number five in this series, which has undoubtedly added further consternation to the already shaky situation.

Selectors will say that this is all part of trying to find the right combination of players, but there is no time for tinkering with combinations.

In less than a month, we will be staring down the unwavering barrel of a team which is ruthless and which never takes their foot off the pedal.

Tuesday's embarrassing two-wicket loss to Afghanistan would have fuelled the fires of the naysayers, who are desperate to see Zimbabwe removed from the Test family.

Granted, this is one-day cricket, and the differences between the two forms of cricket is the equivalent of night and day.

But the principles are still the same.

If you continue to play poor cricket, questions will be asked, and the answers may have terrible ramifications.

Zimbabwe Cricket have proposed a massive shake-up which could see Andrew Waller becoming the director of coaching as well as Brendan Taylor been stripped of the captaincy in one of the versions.

Has this proposition affected the performances of the players?

Can we use that as an excuse? Of course not!

Zimbabwe were ruthless and clinical in their first two wins over Afghanistan, and then seemed to relax in Tuesday's embarrassing defeat.

The pitches in Zimbabwe seem to change character in winter, but do they really change to such an extent that a team such as Afghanistan can chase down a total of 262?

Stud farmers will tell you that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

They will tell you a story about a certain horse they use to have.

The horse would show all the promise in the world.

It would grow into a wonderful animal but it wouldn't perform when it had to.

No matter how many chances they gave that horse, no matter how much love and attention the animal was given, no matter who the trainer was, the horse simply wasn't good enough.

Eventually the owner would be left with no choice but to shoot the horse.

Has the time come to bring out the humane killer, and start the culling exercise?

First of all, the selectors, and there is one in particular who has been nothing more than a loud and disruptive bully, who has bulldozed his way into the set-up with taunts and threats, and who has paid no attention to the opinions of the coach and captain when selecting a team.

How can a team be picked on merit and how can it gel and progress when it is constantly been oppressed?

But surely, some of the blame must also lie with some of the players?

One can only imagine that a huge degree of complacency set in after the first two performances.

In short, we can brace ourselves for a massacre when South Africa and Australia arrive, despite one or two stand-out performances by some of the players.

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