I recently came across this article from Zimbabwe about not just the politicisation of Cricket in the Zim/UK-Aus context, but also about using cricket as some sort of a tool to make the statement.
People make statements on this blog as well about Zimbabwe, and also the underlying implication of every Zim related Cricinfo article is that Zim should be banned by the ICC. Everyone has the right to their opinion, but things have to be kept in perspective. ICC should NOT be making political statements, and ezines should not be pushing the ICC to do so. There is enough against Zim cricket administration on administrative grounds to be going after them rather than just doing so because of contemporary politics.
It is quite well known, as is also mentioned in the article above, that Cricket is not really the sport that the black population cares about that much, except for a few, in Zim. So thinking that banning Zim is going to suddenly put everyone under pressure in Zim, and going to make them long for the “glory days”, is silly, and is not going to send any message to anyone.
The implication that Zim is “not really interested” in playing cricket is however, a valid reason to put pressure on them regarding their test status. In early 2006, Zim was not that enthusiastic about giving a 5 ODI tour to Kenya ! ICC had to literally intervene and force Zim to play. This was not because of any other reason, but because Zim board was afraid that losing to Kenya would open the floodgates of criticism about their status. They didnt lose, but the 2-2 draw was enough to still open the floodgates. The fact that Zim has played only 11 ODIs outside of the World Cup in 2007, is not a good sign, and one cannot stop wondering why it is so difficult for the ICC to ask them to host at least the top associates.
An ICC committee gave their view sometime back that Zim should be playing in the intercontinental cup. This I thought was an excellent recommendation. If Zim was able to be victorious there, they would also have gotten at least the confidence to get back into test status. Right now there are test teams, intercontinental teams, and one team which is neither!
Britain banning Zim like this also puts pressure on Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands to follow suit. None of that is good for development of cricket because it is very unlikely that these countries would start getting games against Test opposition like Australia. Zim, Bangladesh etc are the best chances that the top associates had in order to make their case stronger for better funding and for a harder look by the ICC and other test playing nations.
I am not all too well aware of SA’s franchise system, but I think that this essentially means that Zim, who were playing at the SAA provincial level, will now be playing at a higher level, at least for the one day league.
Btw…. if the Franchise has 6 franchise players, then are only 5 Zimbabweans going to play in this Zim team? Or are some of the Zim players also considered to be franchise players now? I think that a couple of them, Taibu and Taylor, are definitely SA franchise standard.
I initially thought that this is also the way forward for other neighbouring SA countries, like Namibia. But I read now that this was done specifically due to ICC’s request to provide better standard of play for Zim.
I think this triangular has been scheduled for a while. As far as my memory goes, this was originally supposed to be Kenya, NZ and Sco in this tournament. There is a mistake in the news article stating that this will be the second ODI by Ireland against a test nation, I think they wanted to write that this is the second ODI by Ireland against THE test nation (the test nation in question being NZ).
I thought after this year’s 4 nation tournament with the WI, that that is the format ICC is likely to follow for next year as well. I would have thought that Netherlands would also have been part of this tournament. one has to remember 2 things though. Firstly, that Sco made an effort themselves to be pushed into this year’s tournament, and secondly, that there is also SA coming in the first half of English summer, and that ICC may be having them visit Ned.
Coming to this tournament, there should have been a final I think. It should have been a 4 match series, rather than a 3 match one.
Why doesnt the ICC try to get Bangladesh or Zimbabwe to tour these countries during the summer? There may be opposition in touring Zim, but I dont think there is opposition in hosting Zim. Even Australia said that they would have no objections in playing Zim outside of Zim. And its not like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have too hectic a schedule, esp Zim, who arent doing anything really 🙂
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned in one of the posts that Zimbabwe had been not as hopeless against SA in the ODI series. Most of it was based around the fact that the team once again had Taibu in the ranks, to support the only other real class player, Taylor.
Taibu failed today, but Taylor didnt. Neither did any of Chigambura, Sibanda, Masakadza or even Chibhabha, as Zimbabwe pulled off an amazing victory against Australia, only their second against the champs in their entire cricketing history in any official format.
There is not much to comment, and I am not sure what to write. A month ago we were talking about taking all of Zimbabwe’s funds and giving them to the associates like Kenya (who created a world record for the lowest 20 20 total today, and also were just throwing their bats around, torturing people like me who were watching their performance at 2 am). We were also laughing off when Mali said that Zim can be world champs in a couple of years.
Well….. lets not get carried away. This victory doesnt mean Zim is better than Aus. It doesnt mean they are world champs, it doesnt mean that their board shouldnt do much much more. It doesnt say anything about Zim’s ODI and Test performance either. And Zim do have a weak bowling attack, no matter what happenned today. And the victory definitely doesnt mean that ICC should not give extra funds to the associates. What it does state is…. that the ICC was right in not completely running away from Zim cricket.
Its just one game…. sure. Its 20 20 format….. sure. But it is still Zim beating Aus at cricket, and continuously staying on top of them for 3 hours. If Zim hold on to their players, which somehow I think they will after this victory, they can become a better team in the future.
Interesting that Kenya beat Bangladesh after the disasterous tournament at home in which they lost to both Uganda and Bangladesh. This was a decent victory as well, by 6 wkts. There was only 1 ball left though, but Kenya would be happy at the fact that they dismissed Bangladesh in 16.3 overs. This was the full Bangladesh team I think, they werent resting anyone.
On the other hand, Zim also went past Sco with relative ease, though not a one sided competition.
It should be noted that Bangladesh beat Sco a couple of days ago with ease.
Zimbabwe has always been a brunt of our jokes, and criticism. Some things happenned for this series which were….. well …… positive. Taibu returned, and returned with a bang. The other good things were that Sibanda and SC Williams were both playing. I have seen SC Williams and he looks like a great player at the ODI level. In addition to these 3 there is always Taylor, who was for quite some time the only class player in the Zim team. Then there are always Masakadza and Matsikenyri, followed by the hitter Elton Chigumbura.
Zim batting looked better in these games than they have ever since the player revolt began. Their bowling is quite weak. Mpofu and Mupariwa are effective bowlers, but neither is a top bowler. I think Zim has lost out on Payangara for good, so they need to look for some wicket taking bowlers.
Prosper Utseya is usually very economical, but he was unable to hold up the reputation. I think Zim may have gotten even closer, and may even have won the game if Utseya had given away his usual 25 runs in 10 overs instead of 60-70.
Recently, the cricketing world has been given another talking point….. that an ICC committee recommended that Zimbabwe be made to play in the intercontinental cup, and only after a clear domination in that should they return to test cricket….
Good or bad? Good…… Zimbabwe ended up creating a mess that has no parallel in the history of cricket. A test team destroying itself so badly that one has to wonder what their real standard is. People have argued why nobody criticises Bangladesh….. first off all, they do when necessary, and secondly, Bangladesh are way better than Zim in almost every regard at this point in time, especially in the most important point that Bangladesh is crazy about the game, while Zim cannot hold its players after they grow out of puberty.
The question is, whether Zim is still going to have a test status? Will they still get the full country’s funds from the ICC? That is not good….. if Zim are asked to prove a point by putting them in the Intercontinental cup, then they should also be given the money at par with the associates….. after all, we are trying to see who is better given equal funds, so that the correct team comes through to the main table…….
I think one of the interesting by products of Zim playing in intercontinental cup is that the associates will get to play a lot of ODIs against them…… hence, if Zim is still a full member country, the associates can get some points on the ODI championship.