BY Kevin Mapasure
Battered and bruised in their T20 series against cricket minnows Namibia, Zimbabwe’s “emerging” side will seek better fortunes when they take on their hosts in a three-match unofficial One-Day International (ODI) series starting today.
The team, led by seasoned campaigners Chamu Chibhabha, has been a subject of ridicule over the course of the week after it was soundly beaten by T20 World Cup-bound Namibia.
Fans have been venting their frustration as national team players such as Chibhabha, Brian Chari, Richmond Mtumbami and Roy Kaia struggled for runs.
The team featured players who have been knocking on the national team door over the last few years and had a platform to stake their claim.
They all failed in their tracks and now have the 50-over format to try and convince the selectors that they can offer something in the first team.
None of them managed a half century and it was Chibhabha who went the closest in the first T20 where he scored 35 runs as Zimbabwe were stifled to a measly 112 runs in the third and final match where they lost by seven wickets.
In that match, Chari made two runs, while Mtumbami was dismissed for a duck with Kevin Kasuza getting the second highest score for Zimbabwe after putting together 20 runs.
Zimbabwe needed to respond in the second match and Namibia didn’t make the task any easier as they set their guests a target of 255 for victory.
Chibhabha’s men only managed to go as far as 122 where the skipper made 15, Kasuza 12, Chari 33 and Mtumbami 16.
Things didn’t get any better in the third match where they were dismissed for 129 with Under-19 batsmen Mathew Welch top-scoring with 34 runs.
Take nothing away from Namibia, it has so far been a tour of shame for Zimbabwe who featured at least eight senior players in each match, but were outplayed by their hosts, who are struggling to make a real mark in international cricket.
Some of their senior players who are on this tour are probably digging their own graves and could find themselves being pushed towards the edge.
The three matches on today, Friday and Sunday could be defining for some of the players’ careers with Zimbabwe Cricket authorities losing patience after giving the players several opportunities to prove their mettle.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinmapasure