ROBIN Jackman (RM) was born in India and grew up in England and in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
He played four Tests and 15 ODIs for England and represented Rhodesia at first-class level between 1972-73 and 1979-80.Â As a fast bowler, he was a combative, wholehearted cricketer. Jackman (63) now stays in Cape Town and is a television commentator. Enock Muchinjo (EM) who is covering the Indian Premier League in South Africa caught up with him in Port Elizabeth.
EM: What do you think of Test exile and the state of the game in Zimbabwe?
RM: Ja, its difficult because of the situation in the country. Itâ€™s more of a decision that the ICC has to make than it is with Zimbabwe.
We are currently not playing Tests, hopefully when things settle down in the country and normality returns the game can be resurrected.
EM: What about the current national side?
RM: They are still competitive as a one-day unit. They are still performing and playing against the top countries. At least they are still in the mix.Â They wouldnâ€™t want to drift away completely.
EM: What was your Rhodesia first-class career like?
RM: Those were wonderful years, I cherish them. We had a very good team containing such world-class players as Mike Procter, who was our captain, then Duncan Fletcher, Jackie Du Preez, our wicketkeeper Howie Gardiner, Jack Heron, Stuart Robinson â€” I tell you these were all wonderful players to come out of our country.
We played in the Currie Cup in South Africa. Anybody who was Zimbabwean, or Rhodesian as it was then, could play for South Africa. Â That is why the likes of Colin Bland and Joe Partridge played for them earlier and then later guys like Procter and John Traicos also earned their Springbok colours.
EM: Whatâ€™s your comment on Andy Flowerâ€™s appointment as England coach?
RM: If you see the quality of a man like Andy Flower you realise what our nation has contributed to cricket. He has an amazing record as a wicketkeeper and batsman. It gives credit to the country that people like him have moved to higher posts as it was with Duncan Fletcher. In fact, for two Zimbabweans to have been back-to-back England coaches is a feather in the nationâ€™s cap.
EM: Â How do you compare your generation with the 1992 Test-status winning crop?
RM: There were a lot of blokes in my era who would have been a success at Test cricket. We had a good side and theirs was also a good side. The Flowers, Alistair Campbell, Dave Houghton and others all represented the country with distinction. They certainly didnâ€™t disgrace themselves in any way.
EM: What do you think of the IPL?
RM: Itâ€™s fantastic! I mean, to have the top 100 cricketers in the world all in this country playing for and against each other is something you cannot explain. Itâ€™s huge. Itâ€™s giving the young Indian players in the franchises an opportunity to mix with the legends. Even Morne Morkel who is not playing told me he is gaining a lot by working out with such legends as Warney (Shane Warne).
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO