Zim doing themselves no favours

HARARE - If you hadn’t been following the recently concluded two-match Twenty20 series between Zimbabwe and Pakistan, you would probably have thought that losing by 13 and 15 runs respectively sounded like two closely-contested matches.

Sadly, there was no real contest between bat and ball.

The combination of an appallingly slow pitch and some very ordinary batting by both sides, made it an absolute bore to watch.

Both batting teams struggled to get to grips with the pace, or lack of pace on Sunday and Tuesday’s encounters, which made it a very unattractive spectacle.

The million dollar question right now is...

Why are we continuously preparing these pitches, which are clearly playing right into the hands of the opposition?

There is still a false theory that Zimbabwe’s spinners are capable of winning matches, if the pitches are prepared to assist them.

Well, that theory never really existed to be brutally honest.

Yes, the spinners certainly had a role to play, and there is no question that Zimbabwe do have a number of more than decent spinners, but the truth of the matter is that although they more often than not slow the opposition’s scoring rate, the Zimbabwean batsmen have no idea how to play spin bowling.

This was evident in the first Twenty20 match on Sunday when left arm spinner Imad Wasim dismantled Zimbabwe’s top and middle order with figures of 4-11 from his four overs.

And although he wasn’t as destructive in the second match two days later, he picked up one scalp for the concession of just 14 runs, giving him series figures of 5-25 from eight overs.

It seems as if everybody got caught up in the Wahab Riaz factor, and totally forgot that Zimbabwe’s real threat is and possibly always will be, the left arm spinner.

So how is then that the decision makers have such short term memories?

Did we not witness Indian left arm spinner Axar Patel cause a great deal of havoc and chaos when India toured Zimbabwe in July?

Did we not wring our hands in absolute frustration when New Zealand leg spinner Ish Sodhi bamboozled Zimbabwe’s batters just over a month ago at the same venue?

Yet, we still seem to be denying the fact that despite numerous trips to Bangladesh, Zimbabwe’s batters are unable to survive, let alone play spin bowling...

So why then do we continue to take grass off the pitches and put our batters under unnecessary pressure?

Last year was no different either.

The Zimbabwean spinners did an outstanding job in the triangular series against Australia and South Africa, but their batsmen weren’t capable of backing the bowlers up.

Moreover, it wasn’t the lethal pace attacks of the visiting teams who got the better of Zimbabwe, but their respective spinners who took wickets at very crucial times and broke key partnerships.

It would however be unfair to blame these two losses on the preparation of the pitch, though a great chunk of the problem undoubtedly does lie in the pitch, but how is it that the powers that be, ranging from the coaching staff to the senior players to the analyst to those behind the scenes who make critical decisions still haven’t figured out that there is a very serious problem with Zimbabwe’s ability to play spin bowling, and more to the point left arm spin bowling?

The batsmen clearly prefer the ball coming onto the bat, as it is much easier to use the pace of the bowler, and extra pace and bounce in a pitch also encourages stroke play from the batsmen.

But more importantly, it also encourages the young bowlers with the potential to run in and bend their backs.

For years, we have been clamouring for a decent pace attack, and rightly so.

But how would we be able to nurture and groom fast bowlers if we continue to prepare pitches that are similar to sponge puddings?

This of course doesn’t mean that Zimbabwe would start winning matches if we suddenly prepared quicker pitches, but it will surely go a long way towards the batsmen scoring runs, and not just allowing bowlers to bowl to them, and our seamers to run in with intent and aggression.

But at this particular juncture, the standard of cricket at every conceivable level, is taking a turn for the worse.

From those off the field making decisions, to those who make decisions on the field of play, and one can visualise both Ireland and Afghanistan rubbing their hands together in gleeful anticipation as they gear up for their respective trips to Zimbabwe.

Comments (1)

Well said the team is not showing any progress at this point in time, case and point those two T20`s were Elton said in the 2nd one ''I guess I just have to repeat what i said the last time"

Perkins-Tino Bare - 2 October 2015

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