ZIMBABWE won the final Test against Pakistan in Harare and left the country optimistic of better things to come.
The much-publicised cashflow situation meant the Sri Lanka tour was postponed, so what happens next?
“Winning is a habit” and a habit is something that you would like to do often. What happens if you are deprived of the chance to practice that habit? As one senior player was quoted, “next time we play it will be like starting all over again”.
This basically means the players may have forgotten how to win or what they did to win. Zimbabwe’s next assignment is the Twenty20 (T20) World Cup in Bangladesh next year.
The mother body has been mum on the start of the current franchise season and the rumuor mill has kicked into overdrive that the season may not take off this year.
A few of the senior players are currently in Bangladesh in the T20 league there, which should keep them gainfully occupied for a while. Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has assured stakeholders that it is working around the clock to ensure the first class season starts as planned.
On the Crease is confident that there would be a first-class season in Zimbabwe and the challenges would be overcome.
The issue of hosting three back-to-back internationals has not helped the situation either.
As has already been well documented, unless you are hosting India, you are likely to make massive losses on all incoming tours.
I can safely tell you that the budget for the Bangladesh series was $900 000.
I don’t know many sponsors willing to pay that much for a series between two of the lowest ranked Test sides. It is a mystery how the International Cricket Council structures its future tours.
We were in the same boat a couple of years back when we hosted Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand back to back and then went the entire following year without a single tour.
This year, had Sri Lanka gone ahead, it would have been four tours with no breathing space, add to that, the stopover by Aussie A side and the Under-19 trip to India, any board would take a massive hit from that.
This brings us to the issue of sponsors. Why is ZC failing to attract sponsorship?
It is a conception or misconception that everything cricket does is sponsored.
It may have been that way in the past, but it’s definitely not the case now.
The problem is not uniquely Zimbabwean as even the powerful Cricket South Africa has played some series without official tour sponsors.
Of late, all the major tour sponsors have been from of the sub-continent as they have more to gain from the mileage than local companies.
It is the worst kept secret that the economy is not doing well, so to attract sponsors in such an environment is very challenging.
Maybe the government can come in and assist by offering incentives to companies that sponsor local sport, not just cricket.
- The curtain came down on the Champions Trophy and the more the tournament progressed the more it looked like the IPL. Trinidad and Tobago spoilt the all-Indian affair by making the semis.
The final, however, came down to arguably two of the greatest cricketers this world has ever seen, Sachin Tendulkar’s Mumbai Indians and Raul Dravid’s Rajasthan Royals.
The match was the last time the world will get to see Dravid on the cricket field.
Unfortunately, the great man bowed out on a losing note as the 203 set by the Indians proved too steep a challenge. The Mumbai Indians pocketed a cool $2,5 million.
I’m looking for the person I sold my bat to. I want it back, now! I personally had the chance to meet Dravid and Tendulkar on their numerous visits to this country.
I was very surprised by the humbleness shown by both gentlemen despite their god-like status back home.
We will miss the “Great Wall of India” and hope his services are not lost totally to the world of cricket.
- England has announced their touring party to Australia for their defence of the Ashes. The one notable inclusion is that of Zimbabwean born and bred Gary Balance. A part of me is not happy as it still entertained the hope that Balance would one day turn out in red for international cricket, but not for the three lions.
Well, that dream is over now and I wish Balance the best on all his future endeavours.
Maybe one day we could get all the Zimbabweans dotted around the world to play a match, with Andrew Flower and Duncan Fletcher as coaches — just a thought.