Not necessarily exciting, but action none the less

HARARE - After 22 long years at the helm, Peter Chingoka finally decided to relinquish power, and the news was greeted with rapturous applause by the majority of cricket fans, who took to the various social networks.

Both Facebook and in particular Twitter were bombarded with statements and questions as the excited fans debated, speculated and argued amongst themselves, making the usually boring networks very entertaining.

The excitement was short-lived however, when the news filtered through that Chingoka’s successor would be none other than one Wilson Manase, a lawyer who until recently showed absolutely no interest nor aptitude for the game.

Hundreds if not thousands of articles have been written about whether Manase’s appointment, as well as the appointment of Maureen Kuchocha would be another step towards ZC self-destruction or not.

Whether ZC will be further crippled or not remains to be seen, I, however, would like to firmly distance myself from the off-field drama which continues to hang over the sport like a dark and foreboding cloud, and focus on events in the field of play.

The new appointments didn’t stop at the powers that be, both Brendan Taylor and Andrew Waller were relieved from their duties as expected.

Waller will now focus on his new job as director of coaching and development, while Elton Chigumbura takes over as limited overs skipper, leaving Taylor with the Test captaincy responsibilities.

Both these moves have left many of us scratching our heads as we try to understand why Waller who coached Zimbabwe to an historic win over Pakistan last year would suddenly be demoted, though ZC are of the opinion that he has been promoted.

Waller is a hands-on man, who thrives on transferring his energy and passion to the players.

You may not have seen that in some of the results, but it is hard to do your job when you are given very little time if any carte blanche to do what is right for the team, and not for the administration, and it will be interesting to see how the players respond to Steve Mangongo, who takes over with immediate effect.

Mangongo is no stranger to the position of head coach, he was after all in charge of the team who won and then lost against Bangladesh in a two-Test series last year.

He will also be quick to remind you that he was part of a heroic comeback display by the Taylor-captained team when Zimbabwe came from behind to win the three -match ODI series against the Tigers in Bulawayo, a venue which in recent times had been very unkind to Zimbabwe, especially when playing against Bangladesh.

But why though? Why would you feel that there should be a change or split in the captaincy when your team plays less international cricket than most teams around the world?

A number of the stronger teams have adopted the strategy of splitting the captaincy due to the amount of cricket they play.

But Zimbabwe have been deprived of international cricket since their return to the Test arena, which hardly constitutes such a move.

This is no criticism but a question, and there is no reason whatsoever for Elton Chigumbura to make a better fit of the captaincy this time round.

One can only hope that the hard hitting all-rounder won’t suffer the same loss of form that had people questioning his place in the side, let alone his captaincy when he took over from Prosper Utseya in 2010.

Andrew Flower’s first stint as captain wasn’t much to go by either.

But his second spell was a marked improvement both personally and more importantly from the team's point, before he was unfairly sacked in 2000.

Another very worrying and disturbing point of conversation is how both Zimbabwe A and more alarmingly the national team have been outplayed by Afghanistan.

Everybody knows the heart-wrenching story of how this war-torn country has picked itself up, and in a very short space of time got themselves a cricket team brimming with confidence and an overwhelming desire to improve, which is exactly what they have done over the last four or so years, but, they certainly haven’t become a world beating team as of yet.

Although it wouldn’t be surprising to see Afghanistan become a force to be reckoned with through sheer willpower and determination.

So when CSA announced an unchanged team who recently beat Sri Lanka in a two Test series in Sri Lanka, many purists of the game as well as journalists described the selection of an unchanged team as a shock move.

There are some fans who would have rubbed their hands together in the anticipation of watching the likes of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers or the skills of Dale Steyn and the pace and bounce of Morne Morkel despite the seemingly clear-cut outcome of the Test and triangular series which includes Australia.

So should we already be bracing ourselves for topsy- turvy times both on and off the pitch, or should we reserve judgment until after the carnival of cricket?

Either way, we will be in for some mouth-watering cricket, a luxury which we have not had for a number of years.

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