Zim cricket: Who's to blame?

HARARE - The latest episode of the ongoing saga involving Zimbabwe’s cricket team has left people speechless, or to use a cricketing term stumped.

While there is no doubt that Afghanistan have improved over the last three or so years, Zimbabwe’s loss in the ODI and T20 series is totally unacceptable.

Lame excuses such as Afghanistan’s bowlers have been on the button have already turned stale, and people are quite rightly wanting answers.

So why is it then that we have been reduced to a team who get excited when we win matches against lowly ranked teams such as Ireland and Afghanistan?

Baring in mind that the majority of the team has been in the system for 10 years now.

If we had lost a Test series against any one of the Test playing nations, including Bangladesh, there wouldn’t be as much concern and bitterness as there is, given the fact that Zimbabwe have only played 14 Test matches since their return to the Test arena in 2011.

They have, however, played a considerable amount of ODI and Twenty20 cricket, and in truth have had very little to cheer about, say for a win here and there, when the opposition was caught napping.

But, where or more specifically with who does the problem lie?

Have the players reached their peak, and do we have to just accept that they will never improve, regardless of who the coaches are?

Regardless of who the administrators are, or regardless of how much they earn?

Or does the problem lie with the administrators and the entire board?

I don’t think people really know which way to turn anymore, or who to blame?

The players unquestionably do have a part to play, considering that a number of them have close to 200 ODI caps under their belts, and still display the same laid back non-caring attitude in the field or with the bat, but is it fair to dump all the blame on the players?

What is causing them to play so badly and why?

Again, we could quite easily hurl abuse at Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and accuse them of total mismanagement, as well as an ignorance of the game, the players and the entire infrastructure, but where would that get us?

My personal experience of commentating has always been a mixed affair, with as many happy times as sad  times.

Working for ZC was undoubtedly some of the happiest years of my life, given the fact that I finally had the opportunity to write and talk about cricket every day of my life, which is something I always wanted to do.

I was privileged enough to travel to Bangladesh, thanks to ZC, an experience I will cherish and treasure for the rest of my life.

But with the happiness came frustration, and the main frustration was not being paid for days and days of work in the commentary box. ZC gave their reasons for this, and although I wasn’t happy with the reasons, I accepted them, until the first pay cut hit us.

I was contemplating settling down with my wife to be, and I had to make the hardest decision in my life, and that decision was to leave ZC and find employment elsewhere, a decision which still gives me a lump in my throat.

However, at no point whatsoever, did I lower my standards in the commentary box, despite everyone of my colleagues being paid, regardless of who they worked for.

I left the commentary box in 2012 after publicly stating my reasons, and I thought no more of it, as I immersed myself into the real world of switchboards, customer care, angry customers laborious and nonsensical Wednesday meetings, and of course the planning of my wedding.

So it came as a big shock when I received a phone call in early April of 2013 asking me if I would be available to commentate, and that on this occasion I actually would be paid for my services.

Naturally I agreed, and threw myself at the task with all the usual passion and love I have for the game and everything that goes with it.

I once again was pleasantly surprised when ZC paid me for the work I did at the conclusion of the series against Bangladesh.

So if the players are possibly underperforming due to problems off the field, be it financial or any other problems, wouldn’t it be better to rather not pay at all instead of underperforming and disgracing both themselves and the entire country?

I continued commentating with the hope that an international television or radio station would hear me and offer me a job, and only when it became apparent that wouldn’t happen, did I respectfully and politely call it quits until I was approached to come back.

Players such as Brendan Taylor, Sean Ervine and a few more are classic examples of giving their very best, despite the situation they found themselves in, and were rewarded with county contracts which have now changed their lives for the better.

Having said that, the powers that be at ZC also need to be mindful of the fact that they too have been guilty of transgressing in the past, and that they need to solidify the trust with players and the fans.

It was particularly sad to see the Wilson Manase and Alistair Campbell partnership broken before it had time to develop, yes, the team were still losing more matches than we would have liked, but Manase’s cheerful and open manner, mixed with Campbell’s shrewd and bulldog like determination to get the game back on track, would have paid off in time, of that there is no doubt.

So it would probably be fair to say that both parties need to do a bit of soul searching and realise that neither of them are doing the game any favours at present- it would however be grossly unfair to not give Afghanistan credit where it is due.

Afghanistan have been the hungrier of the two sides, have played the better cricket and therefore deserve to win.

Comments (6)

Politics should stay out of sport, people should be selected on merit. The crop of players are just not good enough & perhaps don't take their craft as serious as they should.

Galore 123 - 29 October 2015

A strong Zimbabwe Team should have been all things being equal 1 Hami Masakadza 2 Gary Balance 3 Brandon Taylor 4 Grand de Horme 5 Tatenda Taibu 6 Sean Ervine 7 Elton Chigumbura 8 Sean Williams 9 Kyle Jarvis 10 Tendai Chatara 11 Sam Kuran However a lot of the talent has been lost to county cricket. Note I have not mentioned players like Solomon Mire, Tom Kuran, Antony Ireland, Travis Friend, Gerald Aliseni, and many more. To thing we let go of a guy like Watambwa.

Ali - 30 October 2015

With all due respect to you Dean that is a very Politically correct article.

Doctor Do little - 30 October 2015

if things had gone well our touring xv would be like this 1.Taylor 2. ErvIne 3.ErvIne.4.jarvis.5.chatara.6.taibu.7.raza.8.williams.9.kuran.10.ballance.11.Mire.12.Grandhomme.13. Cremer.14.Regis.15.Hamilton but this team is not politically correct because they are just 5 blacks out of 15 whites. ZC would sacrifice a win for more blacks to play

sky - 30 October 2015

Its the entitlement mantra that is killing cricket. 200 ODIs and one struggles to reach 50 runs. The country must do away with this racist sytem. Wether one's colour is pink, green or blue as long you have zim I.D you must be chosen on merit. The corrupt and racist qouta system is to blame for our poor perfomances

X-MAN IV - 1 November 2015

Cricket was destoyed by Zanu PF looters , where ever there is order and money someone from within the party will use the political muscle to either create a false case or blame whites for everything so that they move in.After moving in they start to bring their small houses and lazy relatives to come and take high seats .The next thing is they link every white man with MDC . Now that black people has the country since 1980 , what have we done to improve what was done by the whites.i am not saying whites are better than blacks but one thing which made them to stay in power out of their native countries was order . izvezvi kungoita kamari wotonzi urikushandandiswa nevarungu . UZ used to be flamboyant during my time asi ikozvino..........

gg - 1 November 2015

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