HARARE – Losing to minnows Afghanistan will always hurt but burying heads in shame will only do Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) more harm than good.
Instead, ZC has to embrace the friendly advice from the visiting Asian side’s coach Lalchand Rajput which he provided on a silvers platter on the eve of the ongoing ODI series last week.
“We have to try and win each and every game that we play…that’s the consistency we want. Afghanistan as you know are a very good team but they would play good cricket on one day and differently on the second,” Rajput said.
“But because of consistent games…we have now made it a habit to play good cricket consistently and the more matches you play the better you become, the more mature you become.”
Afghanistan has already taken a 2-0 lead and another win at Harare Sports Club today; they will seal the five-match series with two matches to spare.
Although they are still an Associate side, Afghanistan have been the more dominant force against Zimbabwe in the last few years.
Last year, the Asians outclassed Zimbabwe 2-3 in an ODI series played in Bulawayo before winding up their visit with a comfortable 2-0 win in the Twenty20s.
They also repeated the same heroics in Sharjar, United Arab Emirates when they defeated Zimbabwe 3-2 in the ODIs and 2-0 in the T20s.
What ZC needs to learn to know from the visitors is that our cricketers need more game time regardless of opposition in order to improve.
This will however, just be a stop gap measure to ensure the side is competitive ahead of the ICC 2019 World Cup qualifiers as a massive grassroots development programme still needs to be implemented.
Until such a time when the country has a vibrant club cricket league across all provinces which will feed into the franchises, Zimbabwe A and the national team; the game will remain flat lined.
ZC should not waste time in trying to get the ambitious Zimbabwe Premier League running at a time when club cricket is almost non-existent.
How do you choose clubs to participate at the highest level when at grassroots the league operates in fits and starts?
They need to invest more in the club structures then the ZPL will naturally fall into place.
Money ZC is channelling towards the ZPL should go to finance maintenance of grounds, buying playing equipment, development coaches and most importantly getting club cricket going again.
Zimbabwe’s domestic franchise 2016-17 season suffered a false start last December after players abandoned a match between Tuskers and Mid West Rhinos at Queens Sports Club and as they protested against the outstanding dues.
As long as such incidents continue to take place then it will make it difficult the game to grow when the most important component – the players – are being neglected