Uphill task for Zim

HARARE - It has been five long heartbreaking years for Bulawayo cricket lovers, but, the drought has finally ended.

That is to say, the Test cricket drought.

Graeme Cremer and his charges take to the field in what will be a very firm and thorough examination of their cricketing skills.

Once again, Zimbabwe stand the risk of been cruelly bashed by their naysayers, should things go badly for them, but in all honesty, how are the team expected to perform competitively at test level when they hardly play test cricket?

Zimbabwe's last Test series was the forgettable 3-0 whitewash against Bangladesh in October-November of 2014, and their last home Test series was against Pakistan in 2013.

Ironically, the last Test that was played at Queens Sports Club was against New Zealand in November 2011, and what a Test match it was.

The fortunes of the team swung one way, then the other, but eventually it was the experience and sheer determination of the Black Caps which saw them triumph over Zimbabwe by 34 runs.

Both teams have lost key players since the last time they met, New Zealand have lost their talismanic left arm spinner Daniel Vittori, as well as the more recently retired Brendon McCullum, who had a wonderful ability to martial his troops and hold them together when the going got tough.

Despite the loss of these two New Zealand icons, the Black Caps still have a wealth of talent and experience to draw from against a team who sadly have very little to offer in return.

Skipper Kane Williamson is considered as one of the world's finest batsman, and rightly so, and he is nicely backed up by openers Martin Guptill, who has an insatiable appetite when scoring runs against Zimbabwe, as well as a more then useful bowling attack- which has a nice balance of pace, swing and spin.

Zimbabwe have been rocked by the devastating news that opening bowler Tendai Chatara will be out of the series, due to an ankle injury, as well as Tinashe Panyangara who has been struggling with a lower back complaint for some time.

This is a shattering blow for Zimbabwe - Chatara has become the undisputed spearhead of the seam attack, while Panyangara's persistent line and length has also become a vital cog in a seam deprived team.

It will be interesting to see which root the selectors choose to take in the seam bowling department, will Njabulo Ncube return to the Test team after a five year absents? Or will they stick with the seamers who have done the bulk of the work in the shorter formats of the game?

The home side then suffered another worrying blow when in form top order batsman Tinotenda Mawoyo was unable to bat after he was struck on the hand.

One of the few positives Zimbabwe have is the welcome return of Sean Williams who has recovered from a hand injury, and his contributions of 55 and 46 against New Zealand in the three day warm up match would have almost certainly earned him a place in the middle order.

Whoever wins the toss would surely want to bat first, and the Zimbabwe faithful will undoubtedly be hoping that Cremer wins the toss and that his batsmen will be up for a bruising encounter.

Comments (1)

i was watching the match just now .balled at 164 how pathetic our senior players are .they is no doubt that we need new blood. raza, chibhabha, masakadza, creamer, williams should be ruled out of the team at list introduce fresh young blood.

murambatsvina - 28 July 2016

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