Time runs out for top batsmen

A selection storm has erupted again in the aftermath of the cricket Test series stalemate between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, with batsmen Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza likely casualties in future Tests to pave way for new talent.

Report by Kevin Mapasure

The two top order batsmen are among the more experienced players in the team but interim coach Steve Mangongo has fingered the two over Zimbabwe’s failure to win the home two-match series.

Masakadza scored a second innings century in the second Test but that might not be enough to save him.

Mangongo this week launched a scathing attack on the duo for their continued failure on the international stage.

Both are in the squad for the three One Day Internationals, but this could be their last chance.

“In eight innings between them they only came out right once,” said Mangongo. “That is unacceptable, these are the senior players who we should be relying on but have been so comfortable with permanent places even when they do not perform.

“We have had enough of that, it’s better to get in young players hungry for runs. The number one and number three batsmen are not contributing enough and we are not going to continue carrying names that do not help us win matches. I have been telling the selectors that these guys are just not good enough and we should look elsewhere if we want to progress.”

Mangongo said the turnaround process will see younger players getting debuts to create competition for places.

By the time Masakadza celebrated his third Test century in the second innings of the second match, there was little hope of helping the home side win the match and series, with Bangladesh needing one more wicket.

The best that Sibanda made was 32 which he scored in the second innings of the first Test but four, 10 and five is what he managed in the three other innings.

There was criticism of the selectors over the inclusion of Tymcen Maruma who opened the batting with Sibanda in the first Test, but Mangongo said fans should brace for more debuts.

While he was not pleased with his top order batsmen he said the series result was a good one considering they were rebuilding and they were coming from a dry spell.

“We had endured 20 months of misery suffering defeats to whoever we played and on the other hand Bangladesh had done well in Sri Lanka, and people were talking about them coming in as favourites. So it was good under those circumstances to come in strongly and win by 335 runs in the first Test. We played well in that Test and our debutants also did well. Keegan Meth bowled very well and I think he has not received the credit his performance merits.

“The second Test was the opposite of the first. We didn’t deserve to come out with anything. After winning the toss and putting the visitors to bat we did not bowl well, some of the guys were a bit greedy trying to bowl out the batsmen instead of maintaining discipline and patience.

“With the bat it is the same suspects who let us down, number one (Sibanda) and three (Masakadza) just can’t string proper partnerships and we need to discard this belief that it is only a few players who can play. We should expose more players.”

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