HomeSportLogan Cup roars to life

Logan Cup roars to life

By Enock Muchinjo

THE Logan Cup, Zimbabwe’s first-class inter-provincial cricket competition, roars into life on Tuesday with two sets of matches lined up over the next two weeks.



ONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>A strong domestic competition is the lifeblood of a country’s cricket. It is of great importance that the cricket fraternity fully recognises the importance of the Logan Cup as the pinnacle of domestic cricket competition.


The provinces must treat the matches as being fixtures of immense influence, and the players must compete as if their whole livelihoods depend on them. Indeed, their international cricket future will depend on the Logan Cup, as it is the criterion used for selection into the national representative sides.


The quality of the Logan Cup teams has been of great concern, especially in the past three seasons. Matches have ended in two-and-a-half days, with sides failing to compete favourably and virtually rendering victories on a silver platter to the stronger Mashonaland and Matabeleland provinces.

It is this scenario that made so special last season’s remarkably tough competition in the tournament. Mashonaland did retain their title but throughout the season there were matches that saw the big teams on the receiving end.


Although the key players in the Midlands and Manicaland sides were “signed” from Harare, it was a dose of refreshing news that Zimbabwe at last had a first-class competition that could ignite serious competition.

In the past few seasons, cricket authorities have tried to make the sides more balanced by beefing up the other provinces with players from Mashonaland. On paper, the teams looked at par with each other, a thing which motivated players to perform a lot better with the knowledge that their efforts against equally good opposition would be recognised by selectors.


With players such as Sean Ervine, Ray Price and Amos Maungwa turning out for the Midlands, and the likes of Stuart Matsikenyeri, Trevor Gripper and Tinashe Panyangara firing for Manicaland, it meant strength was pitted against strength when these sides locked horns with giants Mashonaland and Matabeleland.


This was a positive development from a few years back, when even with a high-quality Matabeleland bowling attack of Heath Streak, Henry Olonga, John Rennie and Mpumelelo Mbangwa – virtually the whole national team attack – Mashonaland proved all too powerful. The authorities realised this weakness, and have been trying hard to balance the provinces so that they all have good batsmen and good bowlers.


This season, however, the Logan Cup will be handicapped by the absence of experienced players as a result of the ZCU-players dispute, and retirements.


Experienced players are a vital cog in domestic cricket competitions throughout the top cricket-playing nations in the world. They guide the young and upcoming players, and provide them with good competition, as they move from first-class to the international level.


This background of events calls for more resources of efforts and ingenuity by stakeholders to make the Logan Cup the mainstay of Zimbabwe cricket.

A look at the provincial squads released by the ZCU this week shows a fair strike of balance in the teams’ strengths. With the “B” Division of the Logan Cup having been scrapped, there are fewer places up for grabs, a situation which should further intensify competition for Logan Cup selection and make sure that only the cream of the club players have a berth at first-class level.

In matches starting on Tuesday, perennial giants Matabeleland and Mashonaland will square off at the Bulawayo Athletics Club, with Midlands travelling to Mutare to face Manicaland.


After the first set of matches, provinces will have a three-day break before they take to the field again between November 2 and 5. Matabeleland will host Manicaland, while Mashonaland will be on the road again against Midlands in Kwekwe.


All players who were on tour with the national side will be in action, and must earn their places back into the team with solid Logan Cup performances.

Those still on the fringes must carry their club form into this all-important first-class show.


SQUADS:

Mashonaland

T Taibu (captain), B Taylor, E Chigumbura, D Hondo, B Rogers, C Chibhabha, T Mufambisi, B Mlambo, W Mwayenga, J Nicolle, A Cremer, C Samunderu, A Mlambo, T Ruswa, N Chari, A Neethling, T Garwe.

Matabeleland

M Nkala(captain), M Vermeuleun, T Mupariwa, H Masakadza, W Siziba, C Coventry, G Ewing, C Mpofu, K Dabengwa, R Bennett, G Strydom, M Mabuza, T Hove, T Mboyi, M Mbangwa, D Matambanadzo, K Kulinga.

Manicaland

D Ebrahim (captain), S Matsikinyeri, T Panyangara, P Rinke, B Mahwire, S Wright, A Mwayenga, P Charumbira, F Mtizwa, T Dangarembizi, M Chivambo, P Gada, E Chademana, A Soma, L Soma, J Marumisa, R Butterworth.

Midlands

A Maregwede (captain), V Sibanda, E Rainsford, P Utseya, I Chinyoka, C McMillan, H Matanga, D Mutendera, A Maungwa, E Chauluka, I Nicholson, C Ervine, C Brewer, I Chikunya, T Chaeruka, F Katseru, A Ireland.

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