Sport Comment: Flatter, just flatter for cricket

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“We are better than that,” Brendan Taylor said after the 3-0 cricket whitewash to Pakistan on Wednesday.

“We know we can play better cricket than what we displayed in the last three ODIs.”

Okay, Taylor, that seems to be your story, but certainly not the story that Zimbabweans want to hear at this moment on our return to Test cricket.

After beating Bangladesh in the one-off Test and the subsequent five match one-day international series, hopes were high that Zimbabwe would build on that for the Pakistan series that ends on Sunday.

It was an excellent performance against Bangladesh in Harare, but also one that raised questions when Zimbabwe played the last two ODIs at Queens Sports Club, which they lost to win 3-2.

From there, Zimbabwe have been on a five-match losing streak after going down 3-0 to Pakistan.

And these are not the signs that need to be put to the world ahead of the New Zealand tour.

In fact, there is something wrong with the national team which begs for answers from chief selector Alistair Campbell.

One does not understand how Campbell will select players, then go on to become a huge critic of the same players on television commentary.

He should step down from one of the two roles.

Period.

Pakistan are at a higher level than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe were always going to struggle in the Test, but there was some hope that, perhaps, in the limited overs series, something positive could come up.

And, yes, it nearly did, a loss by five runs was something that Zimbabwe could have made a case for the second match to tie the three-match series only to receive a 10-wicket whipping.

The thrashing was mainly because Taylor made a wrong decision. The team strategy was to field, but the skipper opted to bat and everything went haywire.

With Pakistan already leading the series 2-0, one school of thought was that a stronger team was needed to salvage some pride while the other said other players could have been given a chance to prove themselves.

A strong team was sent out with Vusi Sibanda and Chamu Chibhabha featuring in a 110-run partnership, chasing 270 and that seemed within reach after a marvellous start until the middle order connived to“sell” the game.

Coach Alan Butcher and the selectors should change their approach to these games and deliver, to the nation, a team that gives hope, positiveness and exudes a spirit of winning.

New Zealand will be here next month to play two Twenty20s, three ODIs and one Test.

The tour begins on October 15 in Harare, where the T20s and the first two ODIs will be played. The visitors will then play a two-day warm-up game in Bulawayo before the one-off Test begins there on November 1.

There will be no excuses this time; we need victory to rediscover ourselves in as much as Pakistan used their tour to Zimbabwe to rework their game plans.

Things will be tougher ahead, when we play and in trickier wickets and we need to take our chances now on the wickets we are used to.