Time to shed underdog tag

HARARE – This Monday, the tri-angular cricket series featuring hosts Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia starts at the Harare Sports Club.

It has been a long time since Zimbabwe hosted top cricket nations of this nature and as expected, local cricket fans anticipate a good time.

The locals’ enthusiasm with this series is understandable, considering that the Proteas are the number one ranked Test playing nation in the world, while the Baggy Greens hold the similar rank in the limited overs format.

Zimbabwe’s action-starved cricket fans did their best to support the team during the just ended one-off Test and ODI series against the Proteas by filling Harare Sports Club and Queens Sports Club respectively to support the team.

In the one-off Test, Zimbabwe battled for the first two days before the wheels began to come off on the third day allowing the visitors to seal a nine-wicket victory on the fourth day.

When it came to the ODI series in Bulawayo, Steve Mangongo’s men barely put up a fight, losing the series 3-0.

For a team that rarely plays top opposition on a regular basis, cricket fans took the defeats by South Africa on the chin.

But in this forthcoming tri-series, the nation expects better from our cricketers.

The Zimbabwe cricket team should not be content with just competing and losing with dignity against these two powerhouses.

It is better for the team to lose by a huge margin while attempting to win rather than playing conservatively in fear.

In recent years, we have seen an associate side like Ireland, achieving some great results against Test playing nations at various ICC tournaments.

This shows that if the Zimbabwe cricket team applies themselves correctly on the day, they can shock Australia or South Africa during this series.

Most people expect Zimbabwe to lose all the matches dismally and this should take away the pressure from the cricketers.

Without this burden of expectation on their shoulders, our local cricketers should take to the field with heart on their sleeves and fight until the last ball is bowled.

In the world of sport, there are many stories of underdogs that overcame a lot of hurdles to triumph over their highly-rated opponents.

The Zimbabwe cricket payers have a perfect opportunity to write their names in cricket folklore by shocking the Proteas and the Baggy Greens during this series.

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