If you thought the West Indies cricket board was the only board fraught with administrative failings and instances of misgovernance then think again.
The Zimbabwe Cricket Board seems bored of the sport itself.
No sound logic anywhere on the earth can justify a cricket board firing its own coaching staff and calling for resignations of a close-knit group of players, understandably a core unit in the wake of the team’s failure to qualify for the ICC World Cup, 2019.
You just don’t do stuff like that.
It’s needless. It’s irrational.
It can send the very existence of a sport that brings a nation saddled by inflation, depleted by corruption and withering away under constant political upheaval, into a lockdown.
It can give a great reason for Daft Punk to change its band’s name into something cheekier but less- stupid; for the Zimbabweans have broken new ground of cricketing apathy.
But at least, Daft Punk flourish as a unit. Forget that. Probably a herd of cattle stocked together on a countryside farm work well as one unit.
Probably, there’s some sense in the Zimbabwean Cricket Board finding inspiration from a tiny group of ants for starters.
Zimbabwean Cricket Board proves why sarcasm is thriving
At 21, Muzarabani has called time on his career, going the Kolpak way.
The talented Sikandar Raza, among the game’s finest yet underrated all-rounders is nowhere to be seen.
It’s not certain when this passionate Zimbabwean will return. Cremer is injured and probably not even in the good books of selectors. Heath Streak has no further say in their sport, at least this is what seems. Not for the first time is Zimbabwe’s finest modern-day bat since Andy Flower, Brendon Taylor is ‘negotiating’ a return into the national side.
Just what is going on?
The Zimbabwean cricket board can offer material sufficient to birth productive PowerPoint-sapped case studies on how not to govern a group of players, leading to situations that are rife with concern; leaving the Cricket in the doldrums.
You don’t need to be a Zimbabwean fan alone to understand just how inclement is the weather in Zimbabwean cricket.
You can even be a purist hanging out on social media, one who remains concerned about Tests being outnumbered by T20s to understand the riddle that the cricket board is making of a team that’s still etched in a great passion and a genuine love for the sport.
But where does this leave the current team that’s due for a full-fledged ODI and T20 series against the Proteas? At the end of September, the Zimbabweans- god alone knows who will be in the team and who won’t be- will arrive in South Africa to contest their African counterparts.
Probably only one experienced batsman can make a safari out of this tour. His name is Hamilton Masakadza. Zimbabwe will be out to play out of their skins in a series featuring 3 ODIs and as many T20s.
In fact, there’s no other way but for Hamilton Masakadza to score.
He has to. In fact, he ought to.
On October 3, 2018, what will then be the Second ODI of that series will see Hamilton Masakadza will appear in his 200th ODI. That’s some number. It’s a serious number.
Apart from being the most experienced of all Zimbabweans on that tour, this is when he’s picked, which would be a travesty if it weren’t to happen, Masakadza’s no pushover with the bat.
But yet, at the same time, he’s amongst the biggest under-achievers of the game.
At 35 and approaching his second biggest landmark in cricket, having played across formats, it doesn’t help to note that Hamilton’s batting average is less impressive than Zimbabwe’s recent playing record. At 28, that’s an average that would give Kemar Roach or Ravichandran Ashwin a boost of confidence.
If the recognised international opening batsmen can get away playing 200 games without managing a mark of even 30, then the bowlers can fancy their chances.
But probably, true to the saying that often the numbers fail to explain the true picture may also be true in Hamilton’s case. Probably the 34 fifties he’s struck are but an indication of his flawed talent.
As he faces South Africa, not in its best of forms, minus Morkel and with a Steyn who increasingly resembles his frail shadow, Hamilton Masakadza would want to introspect.
Probably there’s no time of poor shot selection. Probably he doesn’t have the luxury anymore of hiding behind the team’s collective failings often making their task harder than what it generally is.
Against South Africa, he’s managed 473 runs from 22 innings. He’s crawled to strike 3 fifties. His average is even less impressive than his overall run in ODIs: 21.
But above anything else, his 2018 average is what will haunt him.
Not since 2013 has Hamilton Masakadza, a man who plays the straight drive just as well as the punch through the covers, averaged as less as what he does now.
From 20 innings so far, he’s just collected 464 runs.
20 indicates a lot of outings for a year that’s not yet drawn to a close.
But the figure seems dismal for a batsman who’s the most experienced name in a unit that’s searching for experience. The problem with Hamilton Masakadza isn’t that he cannot deliver the runs. The problem is that he isn’t.
In 2016 and 2017, he helped himself to 280 and 313 runs, respectively, from not even half the number of outings he’s had this year and collected a respectable average of 35 and 39.
What’s become of him now? That 178 that he fired back in 2009 seems as distant in time as is a student in final year of graduation looking back on his toddler days.
But at the same time, what can propel Masakadza to gain serious heights would be the realisation that this is the best time to do it. There’s no Cremer, Raza, Taylor and the others around. Will Sean Ervine play, we don’t know?
But for a batsman who’s often seemed impervious to all that’s going around when he locks himself in on 22 yards, maybe adversity can play the inspirer.
To put it simply, an experienced marksman may not want to make the series- do or die- when he can get along rather gently. Not everything needs to come down to the point of one’s survival, ain’t that right Hamilton?