Zimbabwe cricket selectors will need to keep an eye on racial balance in the team
It is the pink elephant in the room and noone is talking about it yet.
With the return of Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis to the Zimbabwe Cricket team the supporters of the game in the country have been energised, excited by the fact that some of their best players are back in the fold. There is an air of optimism and the feeling that there are good times ahead.
With it has come a new problem. There is a possibility that there will be seven white players in the team that takes on the West Indies in the first test match in Bulawayo.
What we think is the team selectors will be tempted to pick is this:
Brian Chari/Solomon Mire, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, PJ Moor, Malcolm Waller, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis and Chris Mpofu.
This would make for the most part a competitive side for some people with some good talent in there.
While some will say these are exigent times and Zimbabwe needs to get that qualification into the next World Cup, the reality is that the murmurs in the halls, especially if this team loses, will be about the paucity of black players at the top table.
It is a discussion we are sure the board will expect and some will argue that blacks have gotten a chance to perform before. This may sound true but someone else will say that, only recently have support structures for the playing game improved, citing the flight of sponsors after the infamous rebels (white players) walked out of the game in 2004 and the game having to exist largely without them since then. Add to that the less than favourable economy and issues with past administrations, real or imagined.
If we are to move cleverly forward, there must be clarity from the game’s gatekeepers in the country as to the plan. And if there are to be the same grievances that existed in 2003 manifesting in 2017, what is the way they will be dealt with?
We have come from a really dark place and none of us want to go back there.
It was about race then. It can be about race now. The difference is in the handling of it.
Race won’t matter to many for now, at least publicly, but the elephant in the room will kick up a fuss.