Rain clouds continue to gather

HARARE - Nobody said it would be easy.

Nobody gave Zimbabwe any real chance of winning against South Africa in the ODIs.

Perhaps, if we had rolled back the years to the late nineties, or early 2000s, people would have given Zimbabwe a chance.

Not much, but a chance all the same.

This series however, was worse than we feared.

A reasonable contest over three days in one of Zimbabwe's stronger versions of the game was surely not too much to ask for. Or was it?

It is true that many considerations have to be brought into account before going on the rampage.

The first consideration is that the majority of these players, even those who struggle to make the starting line-up have so many more advantages.

Most of the players, including Rilee Rossouw, who made his debut in the third ODI have at some point represented the South African ‘A’ team.

Unlike our fringe players, these youngsters have not been fast-tracked into the national team.

They have played at least two seasons for the A side, regardless of how many runs they scored, or how many wickets they took.

Unlike our system which drafts players into the national team after a batsman scored a couple of 50s, or took a handful of wickets.

Players in South Africa and Australia and any other major cricket playing nation, are made to work for their promotion from franchise cricket to the A team, and from the A team to the national team.

They also pride themselves on fitness and above all, they pride themselves on playing for their country.

Another plus is that although CSA have once again enforced the dreaded quota system, it is done in a very fair manner.

Players are picked on merit, and nothing else.

Furthermore, selectors who are in the various franchises are there because they have knowledge, pride and passion for the game.

Not because they have shares in banks, farms or any other hidden agenda.

Players be they black, white, coloured or Indian are scouted, recognised and nurtured through the correct channels, so that when they do graduate into the Proteas team, be it the Test team, ODI team or T20 team, you know they have worked to get there.

There are no disruptive conveners of selectors, who shout, demand and threaten.

There are no hot headed and stubborn coaches who refuse to take advice from players and coaching colleagues, and if there is somebody who is being disruptive, they are dealt with in order to continue the growth of the game in their country.

The truth is that certain very influential people who make crucial decisions are now running the national team like an unlicensed tuckshop, and something has to be done about it.

We have too many administrators with scant cricket experience, who are determined to bulldoze their way into the limelight.

The main talking point of the third and final ODI will be the exclusion of Brendan Taylor.

Why was such a rash decision made?

Did Taylor finally snap and retaliate when the disrupters were selecting the final 11?

Surely you can't drop your country's best player after a Test captain's knock of 93.

Granted, he didn't make an impression in the first ODIs, but such harsh measures need to be questioned, and addressed.

Why are young players suddenly been fast-tracked into the national team?

Luke Jongwe may be talented, but he is nowhere ready for international cricket, and to top it all, he seems to come across as someone who has a chip on his shoulders the size of the Vumba forest.

He has talent and potential, of that, there is no doubt, but as already stated in previous columns, he has to spend time in the A team, and more importantly earn his stripes.

After the lambasting Elton Chigumbura took after regaining the captaincy, credit needs to be given to him.

Not only because of his career best innings of 90, but he also showed charisma, guts and determination by first of all promoting himself up to number four, and secondly weathering the storm of short pitched bowling ditched out by Marchant de Lange.

He also seemed to have recovered from his early state of reluctance to get involved on the field, by almost becoming a little too proactive in Thursday's game.

For that he can be forgiven, as it must be hard to try and find someone to contain a rampant team on a good batting pitch.

Sadly, there is very little to get excited about, say for Sean Williams who scored back-to-back 50s, Prosper Utseya who was as accurate as ever, John Nyumbu who seems to have the ability to break partnerships, and the captain who didn't take a step back against the onslaught he faced.

But while we can talk about the odd highlight, rain clouds continue to gather over the future of Zimbabwe cricket.

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