From Darlington Majonga in Dhaka, Bangladesh
ZIMBABWE coach Kevin Curran has admitted serious technical shortcomings could spell disaster for his charges at the World Cup a
fter they cheaply handed victory to Bangladesh in their one-day international (ODI) series this week.
Assistant coach Stephen Mangongo, echoing his superior’s strong sentiments, said lack of experience was not an excuse this time around.
Bangladesh took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five series after a 26-run win in Tuesday’s day-night ODI at Shahid Chandu Stadium in Bogra.
Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh 3-2 in a reverse series in Harare in August.
Curran has called for the axing of his underperforming top players who he accuses of failing to follow his game plans.
“All our top players keep making the same mistakes and we are playing wrong cricket at the wrong time,” he told IndependentSport.
“The thing is the boys have not been sticking to the basics and the senior guys must come to the party now because they are not young anymore.”
He singled out Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri and Brendan Taylor, saying they were putting him under pressure by failing to perform satisfactorily.
“The boys have to realise we haven’t got Andy Flower anymore and they simply have to perform. But then your Masakadzas, Matsikenyeris, Taylors are not doing themselves justice and they are putting me and everyone under pressure,” Curran said.
“Maybe if some of these players sit on the bench they will learn. I think the right thing now is to give the fringe players a chance or else the World Cup will be a disaster if the selectors don’t have a rethink.”
Masakadza has played 35 ODIs, Matsikenyeri 59 and Taylor 56. The other senior players in the squad include skipper Prosper Utseya with 53 ODI caps, Elton Chigumbura 47 and Gary Brent — the oldest player in the team at 30 — who has played 52 times.
But all of them have shown little for their experience.
“We cannot hide behind the excuse that we are inexperienced. We must be men enough to admit our shortcomings,” said Mangongo.
“These boys had shown potential, but if we look at the skill factor we have gone down. If you look at batting it’s a specialised area where you are given one chance, but the so-called stars are terribly out of form.
“Stu (Matsikenyeri) is still struggling with his footwork which is why he tries to go for a whack against spin while he’s stuck on the same spot. BT (Taylor) was dropped but he repeated the sane thing, fishing the ball and he was caught.
“Hami (Masakadza) has shown so much potential but has done little. He is not delivering and many times he’s playing irresponsible shots.”
Mangongo said the team needed a shake-up as the World Cup looms.
“At times you go down to come up. We have to drop underachieving players because for you to learn you need competition,” he said.
“The World Cup is less than 100 days away and when we go back home it’s up to us to work hard one-on-one with the players. We have to look at fringe players and see what we come up with. But we are now under pressure.”
Zimbabwe could give Tino Mawoyo, who has been outstanding on the domestic scene with the bat, his ODI debut in today’s dead rubber at Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka.