The failure to qualify for the 2019 Cricket World Cup destroyed the Zimbabwe cricket players. It weighed on them seriously, and honestly one can only wonder how they dealt with all the pain from such a heart-breaking experience. It was not only heart-breaking for them, but for the nation at large. It was a missed chance.
But eight months after missing out on a World Cup place, and having played little cricket since, hope, light, faith, belief are finding their way back in as regards Zim cricket. The Test win over Bangladesh has brought this, a Test victory to savour for eternity. Zimbabwe had last won an away Test match 17 years ago, and this is also the first Test win in five years.
The massive and emphatic 151-run victory over Bangladesh was a sweet one for the players to cherish. The was overwhelming happiness pervading everywhere, and a reminder of the input which the coach, Lalchand Rajput has invested in a team that was suffering from dejection.
The strong belief in players like Regis Chakabva who proved to be decisive with this sharp wicket-keeping skills has paid off. Add to that the impressive form of Sean Williams and Hamilton Masakadza in the batting department, and the pressure exerted by bowlers Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta and Sikandar Raza. It was wonderful for Zimbabwe in Test cricket.
“This is the first Test win in my career,” Raza told ESPNcricinfo. “I was the 12th man in the Test win over Pakistan in 2013. It is a humbling and exciting time, considering Zimbabwe last played a Test almost a year ago. We haven’t had much cricket after that anyway. The feeling is still sinking in.
“All the physical pain that came from batting, bowling and fielding has gone away, because we won. Hopefully we can carry on winning at home and away and keep up this momentum. This is a sweeter Test win, and to do that in Bangladesh where most of the other teams haven’t been able to do it, is quite a happy and exciting feeling to be honest.”
In light of the World Cup disappointment, this Test win has brought in a sense of relief, and has a positive effect on the mindset of Zimbabwe on the overall. “The nightmares of not qualifying for the World Cup are still fresh in our memories, and also in our fans,” Raza said. “A bit of the pain probably will go away. But all of it won’t go away. I know that I will be playing with that pain for the rest of my career.”
The victory is special for Lalchand Rajput, who made mention of the fact that there was a desperate desire to win, seeking a re-bound from the disappointing ODI series in which Zimbabwe lost 3-0. “We were hungry to win,” he said. “We wanted really badly to win the match because we had been losing in previous games. If you’re hungry for success, you’ll do well.
“The way we batted in the first two days really showed the character of the players. From the first day the wicket was turning, it was slow, and batsmen were a little worried about whether the match would last four or five days.”