IN the last five seasons the Logan Cup, Zimbabwe cricketâ€™s premier domestic competition, has been a headache in terms of playing standards.
Players cheaply earned their provincial colours without a solid foundation of league cricket, bowlers scored runs as if they were batsmen, the usual suspects dominated â€” among other flaws.
The quality of the cricket has just not been up to the mark.
With the 2009 edition in full fight, former Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran has defended the standards of the tournament, saying major improvements have been recorded.
â€œIf you would have asked me four years ago if we needed five teams in the Logan Cup I would have told you that we didnâ€™t need that because of the standards. Not anymore,â€ Curran told IndependentSport.
â€œI think what we need in the Logan Cup is to have five teams. It helps to widen the selection base. Thatâ€™s what you want. If you look at the four teams that are currently playing, they each have a squad of 16 players. Some of the players in the squads are not getting game time, and if you were to combine that with Under 19s, you will come out with a fifth side, a very good side.â€
Former Zimbabwe all-rounder, Curran, who is coaching unbeaten Northerns in the tournament, also commended ZCâ€™s decision to take the first-class competition to Old Hararians and Alexandra Sports Clubs, which had not hosted matches of this magnitude in years.
â€œOH and Alex are very good grounds,â€ he said. â€œWe are trying to improve the standards of club grounds, and playing the Logan Cup there helps.â€
The facilities at most club grounds around the country have deteriorated due to a combination of neglect and the economic meltdown in the country.Â ZC had been slammed for staging all Logan Cup matches in Harare for the first time in the history of the 110-year-old tournament.
Meanwhile, emerging pace bowler Admire Manyumwa of Northerns got another boost to his rising profile after Curran singled him out for praise for his performances so far in the series.
â€œAddie Manyumwa has bowled well for us,â€ he said. â€œHeâ€™s bowled at pace and picked two fivies (five wicket hauls). Heâ€™s been around for a while and is getting better and better as a bowler.â€â€”Â STAFF REPORTER.