By Ashley Dube
A new year is usually associated with a new hope and some greater expectations but more often than not for Zimbabwe Cricket it comes with fresh problems as well as fresh disappointments.
However, over the years it has not been all doom and gloom for the Chevrons as there are some bright spots along the way. Notably, there was a home Test win against Pakistan in 2013, an ODI victory against the Baggie Greens on a ‘minefield’ in 2014, a 10-run T20 win against the mighty India in 2016, the remarkable 3-2 ODI series win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka in 2017 and more recently the Test victory in against Bangladesh away.
The biggest problem with Zimbabwe is severe lack of game time and this year will be no different. Partly this is due to the failure to qualify for the ICC World Cup in England this year. Only Ireland and India have confirmed to host the Chevrons this year. Ireland will offer a stern test but the Chevrons will be expected to win. India is a different story altogether as the Indians are playing cricket of the highest order at the moment. It would take quite a performance for ZIM to win in the sub-continent.
A lot will ride on the T2O qualifiers later this year, as Zim missed out on automatic qualification due to their low ranking. Unlike last year, the senior players really need to come to the party and produce the goods for the nation. Much will rest on the quintet of skipper Hamilton Masakadza at the top of the order, Brendan Taylor in the middle order, the all-round skills of Sikander Raza Butt and Graeme Cremer and Kyle Jarvis to lead with the ball.
New kids on the block
Tarisai Musakanda is not relatively new as he has been in and out the squad for a while but many hopes that it is this year he will take the opportunity by the scruff of its neck. He seems to have reinvented himself as an opener for the Rhinos. He is in good touch a well and fans will hope this form will translate into the national side as well.
Tony Munyonga; Another one who has played really well so far this season with both bat and ball. He is a cool calm finisher with the bat he rotates the strike well and a good spin option as well.
Daniel Jackiel; The net bowler who caused a sensation in the Aussie camp last year when they toured touted as Zimbabwe’s Malinga. He is yet make his debut for his franchise the Eagles but after the meteoric rise of Muzarabani in 2017 it won’t be any surprise if he will be donning the Zim colours soon.
There is also the return of pacer Carl Mumba who recorded figures of 6/8 against the Mountaineers in the First round of the Logan Cup. Fans will hope he will be a natural replacement for the departed Blessing Muzarabani.
The return of Luke Jongwe also got fans excited as Zimbabwe is still yearning for its own version of Andre Russell or Thisara Perera.
Off the field however, ZC has started on a negative note as it has sued Harare Sports Club according to reports.
Apparently, it has approached the High Court seeking an order to compel the Sports Club to pay over 90 000 for loss of revenue accusing the club of breaching a lease agreement by double leasing its property to the Tobacco Industry Cricket Supporters association.