Zimbabwe cricket team
Richard Ngarava

By Ashley Dube 

We celebrated a 131-run against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the third One Day International. Amidst all the celebrations in the crowd in the popular Castle corner, a Chevron was part of them, namely Richard Ngarava.

One thing came to my mind and it was the 2016 U-19 Cricket World Cup where our beloved young Chevrons fell to a Mankad against the Windies and lost the match by 2 runs. Ngarava was the victim of the Mankad and Windies went on to win the world cup.

A Mankad means a run out of the non-striker by the bowler before bowling the ball if the non-striker leaves his crease too early; thought by some to be ungentlemanly.

The Windies comprised of talented young batsman Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Alzari Joseph just to mention but few. All 3 have made strides on the international scene and are already stealing the show on a global scale. Recently Alzarri Joseph shocked the world on his IPL debut where he took 6 wickets in a match, playing for Mumbai Indians.

My concern now is mainly where are our Mankad heroes. The young, feisty Chevrons who stood toe-to-toe with a Windies side brimming with talent. From the Mankad 2016 crop of players, only Brandon Mavuta, and Ngarava have made strides into the national side. Mashinge and Murray had popped up on the local scenes and that is that.

So where are the rest? Jeremy Ives, the promising all-rounder, K. Matigimu, a very promising fast bowler. Is there any pathway for these youngsters from age-group cricket to the domestic scene?  Taibu had proposed the Rising Star Academy and it produced a rough diamond in Blessing Muzarabani and then scrapped after a year due to ‘financial reasons’.

The problem has been there for a while. The 2014 group had some exciting talents as well being led by skipper Malcom Lake. But from that group only Ryan Burl is close to the national side. Is it question of mental strength such that our young players aren’t willing to make the jump to the International stage or are there all leaving for greener pastures? I feel a rejuvenated club cricket would be a start. At least it gives the chance for these young players to grow into the game.

Those who make it to the national side, in most cases come in ill-prepared for the international stage. Luke Jongwe is an example, and I am also fearing Brandon Mavuta after his bright start to international cricket against the Proteas has produced below-par performances in the ongoing series against the UAE.

Something needs to change and fast looking at the current squad the majority are all over 30 and you wonder where the next generation is going to come from.

We really hope Zimbabwe Cricket will do something to rescue our game .

I rest my case.

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