By Raynald Ngwarati M
Yet another series white-wash, for the Chevrons in the hands of Bangladesh, that’s 155run defeat in the first ODI, 3 wickets in the second and 5 wickets in the last. The usual Zimbabwe cricket result, raising questions on the coaching staff’s credentials. The Chevrons, as the Zimbabwe Cricket Team are well known were battered with no response in the 3 match Ispahani One Day International series powered by Toffee. This defeat comes at the back of a battering one off test series defeat in the hands of the same opposition, also a t20 2-1 series loss to Pakistan and a Test 2-0 series white-wash, then a T20 series white-was again in the hands of Afghanistan.
In the last three tours the Chevrons have disappointed with the bat, and the bowling unit didn’t have full grip over the matches. The bowling unit has performed exceptionally in their early spells and tend to lose their grip over the match as it progresses. Despite excellent bowling display in the first test, dominating the first day of play at one point 136-6, the Chevrons failed to deal with the pair of Liton Das and Mahmudulla, with the latter going on to score an unbeaten 150* before restricting the Tigers for 468. To the dismay of the fans, the tale continued as the Chevrons failed to find an answer to Liton Das and Mahmudulla once again for the second time running this time the latter getting to a century, despite a masterminded early Bangladesh collapse of 76-4 after 20 overs. Like the first match the Chevrons failed to capitalise on a good start with the the ball. The Tigers inspired by Liton Das 102 went on to post 276-9 after a resurgence lead by the earlier mentioned pair of batsmen.
The same transpired in the second ODI where, despite disciplined bowling, the Zimbabwean bowlers failed to take the priced wicket of Shakib Al Hassan who went on to score a brilliant 96 not out runs leading his side to a 3 wickets victory, in the 50th over of a breathtaking match. This has been the tale of Zimbabwe cricket grabbing early wickets, but failing to finish the match leading to the resurgence of the opposition. With the talented Blessing Muzarabani and company leading the bowling, they have had good starts, but Zimbabwe lacks a finisher, they start superbly and wear out towards the end.
In the third ODI the questionable replacement of inform Richard Ngarava with Donald Tiripano and inclusion of Tendai Chatara who had been the most expensive bowler in the second affair raised questions on the bowling coach’s decision making, and may have cost Zimbabwe the game.
However it is with the bat where the greatest concern, lies in the batsmen shot selection. Through out the Bangladeshis tour Zimbabwe has lost many wickets trying to attempt the sweep shot and the continued repeat of the same shot shows Zimbabwe has not done their homework. Which raises questions on the batting coach’s capacity, as there seems to be no advise given to players on shot selection, as they continue the same thing again and again.
The other issue is failing to convert good starts into huge scores, with batsmen throughout the ODI series getting into their 20s and thirties, but failing to convert those starts into a huge one. The highest score by a Zimbabwean was 84 by Regis Chakabva with non of the batsmen getting to the century milestone. Though there are positives to take from the series as Regis Chakabva scored two half centuries in the 3 match series, showing he is in good form and fifties from the pair of Ryan Burl and Sikandar Raza Butt. However failure of consistency team mates converting good starts to good scores has resulted in Zimbabwe managing low totals, with players like Myers and Taylor failing to contribute significantly. This shows lack of concentration and confidence and the batting coach seems to have failed in this regard as through out the tour no Zimbabwean player managed to score a ton.
Moreso, what’s worrying for Zimbabwe is the falling of wickets in clusters. At one point Tatenda Taibu posted on Twitter that the boys act like “they’re being called to the dressing room.” Where is it going wrong for Zimbabwean cricket? Even if Sean Williams and Craig Ervine come back can the team perform consistently? During the series Tino Mawoyo pointed out to lack of A cricket to prepare the youngsters for international exposure. Unfortunately the last time the A team played it was composed of guys like Chamu Chibhabha who already have a wealth of experience, instead of the Kaitanos, raising questions on the management and administration team.
Lalchand Rajput and the bowling coach Douglass Hondo and the batting coach so far have not lived to their requirements and are slowly falling out of favor with the fans.
There was outcry, in football for coach Logarusic to #logout after a series of bad results in the COSAFA and CHAN tournament. With socialite Mudiwa calling for Logarusic to be sacked and be replaced with either Mapeza or Pasuwa. And with an ODI and Test series washout there’s a dark cloud over the future of Lalchand Rajput and team. At the end of the day Zimbabwe might lose 2 national team coaches.