Ross G. Cooper
So far, as of the 29th August 2022, the ODI 1-of-3 performance of the multi-cultural and multi-racial Zimbabwean cricket team on both Zimbabwean home ground and in Australia, has been commendable. They sport great bowlers, particularly fast spin deliverers and their batting is great. However, their fielding could be improved as some significant catches were fumbled and dropped. I’m sure that coach and former player of the year David Houghton will work with the players on improving their fielding skills. Indeed, had Zimbabwe not dropped three catches (one by the bowler and two by fielders) and Sikandar Raza’s delivery declared not out, they could have beaten Australia (200 vs. 201 runs) in their first innings. The replay clearly showed that Warner was indeed out after the ball glanced off his bat and was caught by the wicketkeeper. However, the Zimbabwean squad behaved very professionally, took the unfair decision on the chin and carried on. Batmen Innocent Kaia and Tony Munyonga were impressive performers blocking many of the skilfully bowled deliveries from the USA, Netherlands, Bangladesh, Australia and others. All the Zimbabwean batsmen played well. Whilst there were remarkable flying catches performed by the Australian fielding team, there were some attempts to do likewise by bowler Brad Evans when Smith and Warner were batting. The breakdown of skills of the current Zimbabwe squad featured in their latest match vs. Australia included:
Right-handed batsmen: 7
Left-handed batsmen: 3
Right-arm leg spin bowler: 1
Right-arm medium fast bowler: 1
Right-arm fast medium bowler: 3
Right-arm off spin bowler: 3
Left-arm fast medium bowler: 1
Left-arm leg spin bowler: 1
As of the 29th August 2022, the commendable results of the Zimbabwean cricket team included:
Wins: 6 (Singapore, Jersey, USA, Papua New Guinea, Netherlands and Bangladesh)
Losses: 1 (India)
The Harare cricket ground could have been made neater and more advertisements displayed, including that of local specialities like Tanganda Tea®, given the international television coverage of the matches. This would have shown the global audience that Zimbabwe not only takes the sport seriously, but also has a lot to offer. The empty stands around the oval pitch, could have been filled with school children bused in from the city centre. The mono-syllabic commentary during the games, could have been improved by a discussion of the players and their strategies. Embroiled previously with corruption among key players and match fixing by a coach, the Zimbabwean cricket team has achieved significant achievements and remains a world competitor. Continuing to focus on the game and the development of its skilled players, in addition to improvement of marketing, will polish the sport’s achievement and progress on the international arena and ensconce it firmly within the ICC rankings. So, well done boys, fly the Zimbabwean flag high and keep it up!
The game of cricket was brought to the country by the British in 1890
The first cricket match held in the country occurred on 16th August 1890 near Fort Victoria (Masvingo). During the mid-1890’s the main matches were between Salisbury (Harare) and Bulawayo. In 1898-99, the English Lord Hawke’s team travelled to Rhodesia. In 1900-2 J.D. Logan presented a cup for cricket competitions among the towns in Rhodesia. Rhodesia competed against Transvaal in South Africa’s Currie Cup championship from 1904-5, but lost by an innings and 170 runs. Following a sporadic reprieve, it was only from 1946 onwards that Southern Rhodesia played the game regularly, and the team has never looked back since.
Author of: Cooper, R.G. (2021) Zimbabwean Cricket. 29th September, Bambazonke, Zimbabwe. The author has published numerous books in Lulu Press and PneumaSprings Press. Furthermore, the author is also a qualified Grade D and C Zimbabwean Cricket Umpire and holds a Stage 1 English Cricket Board and Association of Cricket Officials certification.