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.

Newly appointed Zimbabwe head coach Heath Streak (left) with ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani at the unveiling event in Bulawayo

Newly appointed Zimbabwe head coach Heath Streak (left) with ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani at the unveiling event in Bulawayo

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.

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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.

  • Elton Phiri

    Beats me how Brain Chari keeps getting chances over Kevin Kasuza and Innocent Kaia.

    • Doubt he will be picked but think they will default to Mire. Chari is more of a test player than a one day player but you make a good point.

      • Elton Phiri

        In terms of skill and technique, you’re so spot on about Chari, you just wonder how he fails to score runs. Mire can be tested, might turn out to be our own version of Warner, I hope he doesn’t try too much to change his style of play, it could affect him negatively. Just the same way PJ doesn’t change his style

      • Elton Phiri

        About those two, I think they’ve done everything to deserve a call up into at least warm up squads as the one currently playing

  • Elton Phiri

    On the wicketkeeper-batsman position we’ve not yet had anyone better in the past 6 or so years in our first class cricket than Forster Mutizwa. He averages around 40.00 in First Class and hasn’t been called even for the Zim A side for more than 5yrs

    • Brian

      Foster has been more of a wicket keeper than a batsman even at domestic level, Reggy and Richmond have topped his performances.

      • Elton Phiri

        No Sir, actually he’s now settling as a batsman who doesn’t keep wicket, and half the time Sauramba now assumes the wicketkeeping duties. Mutizwa in the past 5 seasons has been the most consistent in the domestic league. Figures speak for themselves… I’m a huge fan of Regy and Richie, having watched them play since they were 16 or so, I know how good their technique is , and how excellent their keeping is but let’s be honest, it hasn’t really worked out for them in the national team. I’m not saying they should be taken off the system, but Forster deserves a chance more than they do. They’ve had a fair share of chances, why not give Forster an equal chance, Consdering the technique and temperament of these 3, it is mind-boggling how PJ is selected ahead of them in Test Cricket. Talented he is, but he’s not yet a Test player. I do not mind him in the limited overs squad. Like it or not PJ is no keeper, at least not yet

  • Brian

    I think ZC will have to rethink this system, whilst its a noble initiative to take cricket to all parts and see the once marginalized make it into the game, the demands to get into world cup-more money should put paid t that idea. A more gradual and feasible approach is encouraged that will not upset the performance and balance of the team today but yet address and shape the future going forward. On the issue of wicketkeeper-batsman the return of BT could be a blessing in disguise as it opens up a slot for an extra batsman. Brian Chari has the temperament but just doesnt do any justice to his talent and exploits as does Regis, Foster and Richmond. This operate in fits and starts but dont do much to hurt the opposition and then find their slot taken, Kevin Kasuza is yet another enigma beautiful to the eye, blistering when on song but doesnt make it count when given opportunities in the A or other representative sides. So for me Mire and Hammy to open while BT, Ervine, Willo, Raza then PJ to shoulder the batting charge, with Chats, Jarvis, Cremer and another seamer (Tiripano, Bobby Joe, Chinouya,Ngarava, Mumba) fight it out for the last slot. Chamu Chibhabha also in the mix, while Masvaure, Mawoyo names should be mentioned as being up for places depending on the formate of the game.

  • Charles Tembo

    What is quite obvious is, with Taylor, Jarvis and Mire lured back home, they will definitely be included in the team. All i can say is let’s see how they play. Some of the selections made by the seemingly 2 man selection team of Taibu and Streak are just ridiculous to say the least. Playing Ryan Burl at 8, a non-bowling Malcolm Waller at 7 and opening the innings the batting with a wicket keeper. To me its not an issue of who plays, its an issue of how the team is managed and players are rotated. PJ Moor has had a terrible patch in ODIs, yet you will find on the tour to Sri Lanka he was the only wicket keeper. The question is, are the under performing white players going to be dropped? If Jarvis and Taylor lose form, will they be dropped? If Mire can go from batting at no 7 to opening the innings, why can’t Burl or Waller do the same? The idea of bringing in a specialist keeper is just stupid, noone else is doing it in modern day cricket anymore. If it was Mangongo or Chawaguta doing the same, people would be up in arms. Now because its Streak doing it, we are supposed to be patient. Our best test opener since 2011 is Mawoyo, he should be in the team. Panyangara is an excellent test bowler, he should be there too

  • ndizvo

    pick the best side period,whether black,pink or white put the best players on the park,u blacks when u dont perfom n are dropped or questioned you run to the race issue get a life guys and jus peform!