Selectors must look at form


The decision by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) selectors to drop in-form top-order batsman Vusi Sibanda because he went to play in Australia instead of playing for local franchises sets a bad precedent.

Sibanda was left out of Zimbabwes trip to New Zealand where they are billed to play one- day internationals and Test matches against their hosts.

It would appear the selectors, led by Givemore Makoni, made an emotional decision to drop Sibanda because he did not participate in the recent Stanbic T20 series and instead chose to make the Australian jaunt.

The players decision to go to Australia was informed by financial gain. We think Sibandas decision wasnt altogether mercenary because he needs to make hay while the sun shines. Everyone wants to make money at some point in their careers.

We are of the view that selectors must pick players based on their form rather than commercial or personal reasons. Sibanda is on top of his game at the moment and deserved to be in the squad that is travelling to New Zealand.

The perplexing thing about this episode is that captain Brendan Taylor made a similar move when he went to play in New Zealand, but he was not dropped for the trip to the same country.

It would appear Taylor did not suffer the same fate because he took part in the local competition before making the trip to New Zealand.

Players must be allowed to make choices that improve their welfare. We think the cricket authorities are being selfish when they victimise players for electing to play for clubs that remunerate better than local franchises.

Dropping a player who is in form is tantamount to exposing the national team to defeat. Sibanda has always been consistent at the stumps and his experience was going to come in handy for the team.

Besides the Sibanda blemish, we think the national team has improved in their game and their tour of New Zealand will serve as a test case after promising results against Bangladesh and Pakistan last year.

Zimbabwe managed to beat Bangladesh on their return to Test cricket before narrowly losing to Pakistan. Bright prospects like Brian Vitori were brought to the fore. The only problem that seems to affect the team is lack of belief in themselves that they are up there with the big boys.

Taylor and his charges need to believe they are indeed back in the Test version and that they can beat anyone. A close look at the performance of individual players also shows lack of consistency, especially on the part of the batsmen.

Besides Taylor, some batsmen produce flashes of brilliance one day and fizzle out the next.
Having said that, we wish the team well in their first tour of the year.