Positive intent is what is required

HARARE - When a team continues to be beaten, it must be very hard to find the willpower, let alone the motivation and confidence to front up against powerhouses such as Australia and South Africa.

It is quite possible that Zimbabwe’s already shaky and fragile confidence would have taken a further knock after South Africa chased down Australia's 327 without even breaking much of a sweat.

So why was it then that we saw over 600 runs scored on the same pitch when two days before only 492 runs were scored?

The obvious answer to that question would be that we were watching two world-class teams play each other on Wednesday, while on Monday we were subjected to a world-class team playing a team low on confidence and morale.

As for the continued off-field soap opera that we have endured, well that would more than likely also have a part to play.

The national team must feel as if they are playing on a minefield, and not the playing field of Harare Sports Club.

One wrong step or statement, and you will be blown to Kingdom-come.

Players have been coming and going like busses coming and going in and out of Roadport.

Nobody has had time to settle, and the continued stories coming out of the camp will undoubtedly be taking it out of the players.

But other than screeming and shouting and fining, does the coaching staff actually have a game plan?

We always knew that these games were going to be terrible miss matches, like a featherweight boxer taking on a muscular heavyweight boxer.

Climbing through the ropes and facing his opponent would already be asking too much.

The hard and unblinking stare by the much bigger and stronger boxer would be enough to send the little featherweight scuttling back to his change room.

Be that as it may, Zimbabwe featherweight or not, still have some cricket to play.

They have to try and not just be there to make up the third team.

They do have to find the courage to not just survive.

When playing a Test match, survival is laudatory, well, to a certain extent. But in one day cricket, excessive survival can lead to death and destruction.

You cannot learn anything at all by simply blocking out 50 overs, and hoping to possibly reach 200.

Regardless of who you are playing, you have to try and remember to play the ball, and not the bowler.

Everyone, including the likes of Dale Steyn and Mitchell Johnson are only human.

They bowl full tosses and short balls that can be dispatched.

But at this moment in time, it appears as if Zimbabwe's batsmen are playing for survival and nothing else.

We have acknowledged the fact that the batsmen aren't used to facing genuine pace bowling, but at the same time you cannot just give up simply because you haven't had enough exposure.

Was there any thought processes other than survival when Zimbabwe had to chase down Australia's total of 350?

If there was, there was no sign of a plan.

How will the batsmen know how to go about a realistic target if they don't have any game plan other than to block and survive?

Today’s encounter against South Africa will be another bruising one, but positivity will go a long way towards restoring pride.

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