Zim A earn good credits

HARARE - Zimbabwe A will be ecstatic with the consistency shown by a number of their players in the recently concluded unofficial ODI series against Pakistan which saw the visitors record a 3-2 win.

The result was what most people would have expected, so not many people would have too much to grumble about in the results department, but there were a few very positive signs for the selectors to ponder on when they meet to name the final squad to face Sri Lanka in the two-match Test series, as well as the triangular series which also includes the West Indies.

The first name that jumps out of you in big bold letters is Tarisai Musakanda, who has shown tremendous maturity and consistency not only against Pakistan A, but throughout the ongoing matches for Zimbabwe A against the Sri Lankan development side as well.

Musakanda seems to have a very simple and straight forward way of going about his business at the crease.

He doesn’t seem to think too far ahead, which is a very good philosophy, as too much thinking often gets a batsman into a tangle and leads to a very soft dismissal.

One area young Tarisai does have to guard against is complacency and perhaps becoming a little to blasé at the crease.

Other than that, he has all the credentials to go a long, long way and to score a lot of runs for his country at both four-day level, and the shorter format of the game.

He rotates the strike nicely, and dispatches the bad ball with ease.

The duo of Carl Mumba and especially Victor Nyauchi continue to impress, and by the time the four-day matches would have been played against Pakistan A in Bulawayo the two youngsters would have had valuable experience of bowling lengthy spells in trying conditions against a quality team.

Sadly, none of the other younger players really put their hand up and on more than one occasion, it was the likes of Malcolm Waller who hit three 50s in a row, as well as contributions from senior players such as Regis Chakabva, Sikandar Raza and to a lesser extent Elton Chigumbura who got Zimbabwe A back on track and out of trouble.

Having said that, we would have been bitterly disappointed if these senior players had not come to the party and delivered the goods, and one prime example is Vusi Sibanda, who will probably spend the upcoming series in the oppressing heat of the commentary box, instead of the playing field.

Tendai Chisoro was also steady with the ball, and it was mainly due to his spell of 4-36 in the third match that put Zimbabwe A back into contention.

So with the four-day matches looming at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, it will be interesting to see if the selectors will draft some of the senior players into the squad as well.

They haven’t played any competitive cricket since August when they played the Test series against the New Zealand, so game time is of the outmost importance for them as we have had no domestic cricket.

But the balance has to be good, so that the youngsters continue to get exposure and gain experience while out of form players such as Hamilton Masakadza, Sibanda and Chigumbura could be given an opportunity to either find some form or be left out.

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