Zimbabwe Cricket: Reasons pertaining to the downfall

Zimbabwe Cricket Association is not having a good time when it comes to providing good equipment to their players for playing. We witnessed this in an unfamiliar fashion a few days back.

On May 22, 2021 – an emotional tweet of Zimbabwe Cricketer Ryan Burl shared a photo of his torn shoes with repairing tools being used to join in with glue after a match due to no funding and sponsors for players.

Within 24 hrs. of requests from fans all over the world, global sports brand PUMA generously offered help and tweeted “Time to put the glue away, I got you covered @ryanburl3”. They also tweeted with the image of the express shipment. It was sent for the Zimbabwe Team as a token of gratitude from their side.


So how the Zimbabwe cricket become so poor that it can’t even provide Shoes to its players?

Background

Zimbabwe became an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on July 21, 1981. It also became a full member in 1992. In July 1992, Zimbabwe cricket was elevated to new heights when ICC grant them Test status. It became the ninth nation to receive this honor. But they experience horrible results from their first 30 matches in which they won only one test match against Pakistan. In this match, Grant Flower scored a mammoth unbeaten 201* and Heath Streak took nine wickets in two innings for 105 runs.

Golden Age for Zimbabwe

The rise of Zimbabwe was experienced from 1997 to 2002 where they were ready to challenge big boys. The team has some of the finest players of that time. They had wicketkeeper-batsman Andy Flower, Grant Flower, and explosive all-rounder’s like Heath Streak and Andy Blignaut, spinners like Paul Strang, and Branders, pacers like Neil Johnson and Henry Olonga.

Their best performance came in the 1999 World Cup, where they finished at Fifth in the super sixers. They defeated India by three runs in the group stage. During this period Zimbabwe defeated all the Test-playing nations except Australia. They also clinched series victories against New Zealand both home and away in 2000-2001.

The fall of Zimbabwe

From 2003 onwards, Zimbabwe cricket went downhill because of prevalent racial discrimination in the country. The government also made repeated attempts to control the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU).

Well, we are all aware of the “Black lives matter” protest all over the world. The discrimination based on color was started by the former Zimbabwe Prime Minister Robert Mugabe with his Anti-white policies. The crisis started when the selection of the national team was subject to the imposition of a quota system for a minimum number of Black players in a squad.

Zimbabwe and South Africa Co-hosted the 2003 World Cup in which Andy Flower and Henry Olonga wore black armbands to mourn the “death of democracy”. They were immediately expelled from the team. This marked the beginning of the end of Zimbabwe cricket.

Source : Wikipedia – Robert Mugabe

In 2004, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union sacked their captain and in-form player Heath Streak after he had confronted them with the team’s grievances. This move prompted 14 other players to leave the squad which severely affected the team’s performance. As a result, the team was now composed of young, inexperienced players. The team experienced horrible losses against almost all teams who have test status which lead to the suspension of test cricket until 2011.

Due to the worsening political and economic situation in the country, contract negotiation between board and players failed and on many occasions. The players even failed to receive their salaries on time. The country hit rock bottom in July 2019 when ICC suspended Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) because government interferes in Cricketing affairs but after a 3-month gap, Zimbabwe was readmitted as an ICC member.

Present Scenario:

The rise of new nations such as Afghanistan and Ireland have also jeopardized the country standing in International cricket. Zimbabwe now stands at 10th in Test, 12th in ODIs, and 11th in T20s ICC rankings.

Source : ZCA – Zimbabwe Team posing for a photo shoot.

The team recently hosted the Pakistan Cricket team for a two-match test series and three-match T20i series. The Present team of Zimbabwe consists of some of the most promising players to change their status once again with the likes of Brandan Taylor, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Blessing Muzarabani, and Donald Triipano.

If Zimbabwe cricket players can be provided with the right guidance and sponsorship they will be a bounce back. We wish them very good luck.