Zimcricket needs to go back to its foundation

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Sports Panorama Enock Muchinjo

MANY amongst us will be unsurprised by Zimbabwe’s recent ODI whitewash defeat at the hands of the Netherlands — one of the supposed minnows of international cricket.

To reveal deep-seated ignorance, there are some though who will be blowing their top — like when United Arab Emirates denied us a World Cup place in 2018 — and
tragically amongst them are those that have been governing cricket in this country.

But, of course, you do not expect those that have choked the life out of cricket in Zimbabwe to own up to the mismanagement that has brought us this very
undesirable state of affairs.

You cannot wake up one day, in 2019, and pretend to be alarmed by a hiding from Netherlands — as if it’s given that beating them is our Zimbabwean birthright
no matter how much we self-destruct, and for them losing should be in their Dutch DNA regardless of the dignity, discipline and purpose invested by all in that country in uplifting their cricket over many years.

It shows you a lot about the calibre of an administration which publicly boosts that the relatively new Zimbabwe coach, Lalchand Rajput, cannot possibly lose
to an associate member team, just to spite the outgoing coach.

Rajput, who knows the game a hell of a lot better than those that hired him, will probably be blushing right now at that ludicrous comparison in the wake of
the Netherlands debacle.

With Rajput’s success with Afghanistan in mind, which he will find awfully difficult to replicate with Zimbabwe, quite obviously he’s not part of the problem
here.
The foundation of Zimbabwean cricket was shaken well before him.

Club cricket for example, which used to be the bedrock of the game in this country, is an absolute shambles.
The Dutch, in comparison, have some 52 vibrant cricket clubs across the Kingdom — a country not by a long shot bigger than Zimbabwe.

Because quite a lot of overseas professionals go to play club cricket in Netherlands in the summer — as used to happen in Zimbabwe late 80s into the 90s — the
standard of Dutch club cricket is almost better than the national team. They do have proper cricket clubs over there with rich history, dating back some 150
years.

That club culture, unlike in Zimbabwe, is being upheld and need be modified, for the betterment of Dutch cricket.

A good number of those in the Netherlands national squad today play in the English Country Championship.
From all this, there is a tremendous amount of stuff to learn for the 6 000 odd Dutch cricketers across the country, and that’s a lot of cricketers for a so-
called lowly cricketing nation.

No rocket scientist is thus needed to figure out how a supposed minnow of international cricket can today boss around a Zimbabwe side whose administration has
long abandoned the organisational structures that that shaped our game and delivered results in the past.

In light of this, I have been asked by some to share my views on the latest boardroom manoeuvres in Zimbabwean cricket.

Having seen best and worst of this game in this country, I will put my head on the block and declare my support for any efforts to breathe new life into the
sport.

As a nation, we are incredibly lucky to have an abundant supply of young cricketers from the schools system.

The Netherlands, who I have used as a shining example of development, do not even play any cricket at school level.

Putting the game in the hands of those with a proven track-record — those that in the past presided over the best era of Zimcricket on and off the field — is
the most sensible transitional measure at this point in time.

Then of course the nation should pass the baton to younger, skilful and dignified administrators to take Zimbabwe forward and reclaim our rightful place a
globally-respected cricket nation.

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