Can Zim find right bowling balance?

HARARE - The next three weeks will provide an opportunity for new Zimbabwe cricket coach Dav Whatmore to continue ticking the right boxes ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The Zimbabwean side flew out to New Zealand on Wednesday two weeks before the tournament proper begins –ample time to acclimatise to Australasia conditions ahead of the much-anticipated showpiece.

Will Whatmore and his lieutenants find the right combinations?

I’m particularly excited by the bowling department –especially the pace attack.

Frontline bowlers Tendai Chatara and Tinashe Panyangara will now doubt enjoy and exploit the swing, seam, bounce friendly conditions of New Zealand, where Zimbabwe will play their earlier matches.

There will be excitement in the Zimbabwe camp about the nature of the surface, but the team must not allow itself to forget other strategic concerns. I will be particularly wary, though, of selecting an all-pace attack.

A three or four-pronged pace attack will be an option for Whatmore, but if the opposition has a lot of left-handers in their batting line-up, off-spinners become quite important too.

With Prosper Utseya unable to bowl his off-spins, the responsibility will be given to Stuart Matsikenyeri and perhaps part-timer Craig Ervine and Sikander Raza Butt.

Taking of Utseya, his selection as a medium pace bowler still baffles the mind.

Zimbabwe has an array of part timers who can bowl handy medium pacers. Utseya’s inclusion doesn’t make sense at all, and I have no doubt it will cause Whatmore a few selection headaches because having made the 15-man touring party, Utseya definitely has to play to justify his controversial selection. He cannot be seen to be wasting a slot that should have gone to someone else.  

Selectors insist he can bowl off-cutters, but that hasn’t been tested at international level. If that option for off-cutters was needed, we already have Hamilton Masakadza, who has been tried and tested and seems to possess the golden arm to break partnerships.

Chamu Chibhabha also comes into the picture as another part-time medium pacer who can be used.

Throw in Tawanda Mupariwa and Elton Chigumbura in there as well, and it looks a bowling attack worth taking about. I can’t wait for the games to begin.

Cheers, Deano, and thanks

With the World Cup around the corner, what a less appropriate time to say goodbye to our columnist and cricket correspondent Dean du Plessis, a great media colleague of mine for a solid 10 years now.

Dean is a walking encyclopaedia of the game, a fine journalist and broadcaster, and we are sad to see him leave. Cricket is Dean’s lifeblood, and I dare say his lovely wife Louise has some competition there!

His knowledge of the game and captivating writing skills which charmed our readers for two years will be greatly missed in these pages. We hope he can re-join us soon.

Best of luck in your future endeavours, mate. What a wonderful innings.

Comments (1)

true propser's selection is a laugh in other players s faces

sky - 31 January 2015

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