THE national cricket team’s senior players will suffer the consequences of their embarrassing triple whitewash defeat on their recent tour of New Zealand.
As Zimbabwe Cricket launches an inquest into the debacle which saw the team suffering a humiliating innings and 301-run defeat in the Test match in which they were bowled out twice in a single day, a feat only they and New Zealand have achieved in the game’s history, the feeling is that the senior players seriously let the nation down.
The team was expected to arrive home last night with ZC set to immediately seek answers on why the team performed so badly. The cricket supreme body is expected to read the riot act to the senior players.
Only Brendan Taylor showed nerve and consistency in hitting three half centuries in the ODIs and T20s. The rest of the players suffered a shocking loss of form which culminated in heavy defeats.
“We are obviously concerned with the way the senior players performed; a trend is developing where if Taylor fails to perform we do not compete and we only do well when he gets a good score,” said cricket committee chairman Alistair Campbell. “We expect the other senior players like Hamilton Masakadza, Tatenda Taibu and Elton Chigumbura to step up and perform so that the younger players like Regis Chakabva and Malcolm Waller can feed off that.”
While Campbell insisted that they are not launching a witch hunt, insiders told Independentsport that ZC is set to read the riot act to the senior players.
“Senior players are supposed to win us matches but some of these guys just play to get one half century say, in five innings, so as to retain a place,” said the insider. “They are going to be warned that if they do not win us matches they will find themselves out of the team.”
The players will take a break knowing that when they return to action against South Africa in a five-match T20 series they would have to perform better.
Not only are their places at stake but whispers within the ZC corridors suggest that some of the older players may even lose their central contracts.
Taylor led like a true captain scoring two ODI half centuries and another half-ton in the T20s where Zimbabwe had a better showing than in the 50-over version.
The other senior players struggled for runs. Taibu, who played all matches, scored just one half century while Elton Chigumbura was better with 63 runs in the second ODI and 48 in the T20, having been left out of the Test team.
Masakadza was disappointing in both the Test and ODI with trifling scores, only for him to rediscover his touch late in the tour with two half centuries which arrived in the T20s.
Campbell has defended the team saying while they played badly in New Zealand, they generally had a good season.
“I know people are angry; the fans want better results and better performances but upon review of the whole season, I think we did well with the Test win against Bangladesh and we should have won the one against Pakistan with better fielding. In our home Test against New Zealand we should have won. We had some good results in the ODIs too so it was not all bad but we should keep working hard and make changes where we need to until we get consistency.”