By Peter Lovemore
ON May 18, India beat West Indies by five wickets with one ball to spare in a thrilling contest where bat generally dominated ball throughout the rain-reduced 45 overs match.
he first in the current series between the two teams, this particular game followed hard on the heels of the insipid seven-match series between Zimbabwe and their Caribbean hosts when the West Indies, ranked eight of 10 ICC Test-playing nations in the limited overs game, crushed their guests 6-0.
Zimbabwe’s best result was the game which was abandoned after being washed out from start to finish by torrential rains.
Zimbabwe is ranked ninth in the one-day game, ahead of Bangladesh, a situation which will change after the latter’s tour later this winter.
Bangladeshi cricket is on the upgrade, witness the fright they gave the mighty Australians in April in the first of two tests in Bangladesh. The gulf that now exists between the West Indians at eight and Zimbabwe at nine is a chasm so wide as to be unbridgeable for the foreseeable future.
Our teenage cricketers have been sent like lambs to the slaughter while the fat cats back home — the sleek, well-paid men and women of the bloated Zimbabwe Cricket — continue to feed off what is left of the carcass of the healthy, living body that once was Zimbabwean cricket.
Meanwhile, former local stars such as Andrew Flower, Murray Goodwin and Heath Streak smash runs and take wickets for their respective counties in the new English season. Men that, had it not been for the American psychologist called Zachrisson and his fateful intervention in cricket here some six years ago (at the request of the then ZCU, it should be noted), would still probably have been playing for their country. And if not actually playing, then most certainly contributing in other ways. Add to this list the names of other departed players such as Alastair Campbell, Grant Flower, Sean Ervine, Tatenda Taibu, Henry Olonga and Raymond Price and you begin to see the scale of the damage done to the game of cricket in this country in such a short space of time.
Zimbabwe’s victories over minnows such as Canada and Bermuda, subsequent to their Caribbean drubbing, is not so much proof that we belong in the ICC’s top 10 but, rather, that we have now found our level in international cricket’s second division, along with the likes of Holland and Kenya.