THE Zimbabwe Under-19 cricket team begins its World Cup campaign with what should be a routine victory when it faces Papua New Guinea in Australia tomorrow. But the team did little to inspire confidence in the warm up matches where it won against Namibia, but lost heavily to England in the second match by 131 runs.
Zimbabwe should have no problems beating Papua New Guinea, just like it encountered little resistance against Namibia.
Coach Chris Harris said they were targeting a win against one of the big two teams, West Indies and India.
India has a very strong side and is ranked number one in the world, and if Zimbabwe is to have any chance of progressing it need to target the West Indies.
Zimbabwe showed its batting frailties when it was bowled out for just 89 runs against England — a performance that brought down to earth the likes of vice-captain Kevin Kasuza who had scored 63 runs against Namibia.
The England match was a reality check which the team will have to make good use of and seek improvement in the next match against Papua New Guinea.
To administrators, the Under-19 World Cup is more about development than winning the trophy. But for Zimbabwe cricket fans, the tournament has been a source of joy in the past with the likes of Elton Chigumbura having starred during their time, and they will demand good results.
Zimbabwe sent a young side of which many can even make the next showcase.
“A lot of these boys haven’t been away from their parents,” said Harris. “In this environment they get what we call ‘meal money’ or allowances, and they get to buy their own lunches and dinners. So even those little things are a great experience for people who haven’t done it before. And I guess it shows you, at a pretty important age, how the real world works.”
If the team can register a couple of victories there will be ample reason for optimism about the future of the game in the country.