Cricket team tumbles

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Zimbabwean batsman Sean Williams plays a shot during the cricket One Day International match against South Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

THE Zimbabwe national cricket team’s recent eight-match losing streak in one day internationals (ODIs) has come at a heavy cost after they plunged to their worst ranking in the International Cricket Council (ICC) men’s Test rankings that were updated on Friday.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The ICC recently issued an annual update of the global rankings across all three formats of the game, eliminating
results from matches played between 2016 and 2017 in determination of the standings.

In the latest update, the ICC said all matches played during 2019 were weighted at 100%, while all matches played in 2018 and 2017 were weighted at 50%.

After a disappointing 2019 season, Zimbabwe were among the biggest losers of the recent reshuffle of the rankings most notably on the ICC ODI rankings, where they have slipped to 14th.

Previously ranked 12th, Zimbabwe have moved behind world cricket minnows Oman and Netherlands to position on
the latest rankings.

Zimbabwe have been winless in their last three bilateral ODI series, a losing streak which
started in June last year when the Lalchand Rajput-coached side suffered a disappointing 2-0 loss away to Netherlands.

Netherlands have leapfrogged Zimbabwe and moved into 12th position as a result of the win and their subsequent results in ODI cricket.

Following the loss to Netherlands, Zimbabwe were whitewashed 3-0 in Ireland in July before being clean sweeper again by an identical score against Bangladesh in another threematch ODI series two months ago.

Zimbabwe lost the last eight consecutive ODI matches, with the last win coming in a 4-0 ODI series victory against the United Arab Emirates in May.

Luck has also not been on Zimbabwe’s side in recent months after the country was banned from international cricket by the ICC due to government interference in the running of the sport in July last year.

This resulted in ICC funding being withdrawn and the country barred from participating at ICC events.

Although the ban was lifted three months later, the damage had already been done as Zimbabwe were barred from participating in the ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers, while India postponed a scheduled tour by the Chevrons.

Zimbabwe’ chances of fighting their way back among the top 10 teams in ODI cricket faces another hurdle as the country’s scheduled ODI series at home against 11th ranked Ireland, which was due last month, was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zimbabwe’s other upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan, India and Australia, which had been scheduled from June to August, hangs in the balance due to the dreaded virus.

England, who are the reigning world champions, sit at the top the ODI rankings ahead of second-placed India‚ thirdplaced New Zealand, while South Africa and Australia are positioned in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Pakistan are placed sixth in ICC ODI rankings ahead of Bangladesh on seventh position.

Islanders Sri Lanka have dropped to eighth while West Indies and Afghanistan complete the top 10 ranked ODI sides.

Although Zimbabwe lost ground on the 20-nation ODI rankings, they maintained 10th on the ICC Test rankings.

The Chevrons are also ranked 11th on the ICC Twenty20 International rankings.