ZIMBABWE’S fielding fallibility and crucial catch fumbles which left the team facing a barrage of criticism after an 82-run defeat in the opening match of the ICC World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka has sent yet more alarm bells ringing.Report by Kevin Mapasure
From what I gathered from assistant coach Steve Mangongo, fielding got the most attention during Zimbabwe’s six-week training camp ahead of the global high speed, smash-bang cricket showcase.
In the aftermath of defeat Zimbabwe was left to rue dropped catches and many boundaries that should never have been.
Malcolm Waller was guilty of dropping two crucial catches which he followed up with a duck on a woeful night for the middle order batsman.
Zimbabwe also shipped a total of 20 extras in Sri Lanka’s total of 182 runs on the night.
Zimbabwe knew they needed to be as tidy as possible but somehow were a bit more careless than usual.
Captain Brendan Taylor, who made poor use of winning the toss, summed it all up when he said the team had let itself down and after a poor show in the field, they capped it with an equally poor show with the bat.
A lot of work was put in during the training camp which was concluded in Bulawayo where they sought Sri Lankan pitch conditions, having trained mostly in Harare.
Lots of matches were played, unfortunately among themselves, but by the time the team was done with preparations the players expressed satisfaction and were hopeful of causing a few upsets.
Alan Butcher said: “After all the hard work SL was a big disappointment.”
What was most disappointing was that while Sri Lanka was brilliant especially with Ajantha Mendis taking six wickets at the expense of just eight runs, Zimbabwe lost the match because of their glaring flaws.
That we keep going on about fielding frailties begs one question: why don’t we have a specialist fielding coach?
Fine, we have Grant Flower in the technical set up, who as a player was a good fielder but we all know his trade in the team is more to do with batting.
He will plan more on helping his batsmen so the same should apply to fielding seeing its one area of deficiency.
Zimbabwe raised expectations by winning a triangular series that featured South Africa and Bangaldesh in style.
But they were brought down to earth with a thud by the defeat to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, a result which early signs had pointed to when they lost warm-up matches to Ireland and Bangladesh.
Inconsistency is another concern because sometimes the team shows it can compete, only to fold easily.
Zimbabwe are disappointing in the manner in which they raise hopes only to crash to thumping defeats especially when away from home.