Is This Not The Perfect Chance For Zimbabwe Cricket To Start Over?

 By Ashley Dube 

With little [or even no] cricket set to be played this year due to this worldwide pandemic, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) is set to go under a period of restructuring both on and off the playing field. Probably the Chevrons will not play any cricket until the end of the first quarter next year. With most of the core players around the ages 35/36 by then, there is chance some of the lot will consider retirement from the game. So it brings up the question, “Could this not be the perfect time to start over?” and bring out new up and coming players.

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The process seemed to have already started anyway with the new technical director promising to promote the players from the recent U-19 World Cup into the first team. Wesley Madhevere was the first beneficiary of the new approach as he was selected for the Bangladesh tour. Madhevere played well in the tour, scoring his maiden international 50 and also chipping in with a few wickets.

There are also up and coming players who are coming up on the local scene. Milton Shumba scored his maiden first class hundred for the Tuskers, and he is another talent to watch, adding the likes of Musakanda, Ryan Burl, Tony Munyonga, William Mashinge and promising fast bowler Carl Mumba to that lot. Moreover, Masakadza also opened the door for Zimbabweans playing abroad to come back and don the colours of the Chevrons.

Tawanda Muyeye’s name is one that also quickly springs to mind. The exciting batsman is the most recent winner of the Wisden’s Schools’ Cricketer of the Year. This is an award already won by England white ball opener Johnny Bairstow as well as England selector James Taylor. The downside is the youngster wants to play for England though he has not completely closed the door on the Chevrons.

Hamilton Masakadza also name-checked Tanaka Chivanga as one of the players his team are set to talk to in order to return to the country. The fast bowler is currently based in South Africa.

Other players the Cheverons may look at are the likes of fast bowler Kudakwashe Matigimu, Blessing Muzarabani (whose county contract is set to expire) and former U-19 skipper Malcom Lake.

However, Masakadza stressed that any of these returning players should first take part in the Logan cup as well as other local competitions.

Off the field Zimbabwe Cricket has come out in a stronger position having managed to clear its US$27 million debt with chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani saying at the ZC AGM, “Perhaps the biggest irony of our lifetime, the very same horrible year saw us making huge strides towards making ZC debt-free.”

He also stated that Zimbabwe Cricket is set to look back at club cricket in a way which will improve the overall competition and quality. That will then provide a large pool of selection to first class cricket.

Zimbabwe was set to play the likes of Bangladesh, Ireland and Afghanistan this year and ZC has assured the matches will be rescheduled.

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