How fair is selection for World Cup?


SINCE the announcement of the touring party to the World Cup in Bangladesh, I have been inundated with calls to speak on the selection of the team.

As you may have noticed from my past issues I have treated the issue with kid gloves, but not anymore.

The gloves come off this week as I take a look at the World Cup team and selection in general. I spent the better part of three years in the hot seat personally and I have been down this road many times.

You may please all the people some of the time, or all of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time. Wherever there is excess to requirement someone will always feel aggrieved about being left out, that is just human nature.

However, when it comes to national duty and with the amounts of money involved, it is tantamount to giving someone a job or firing them. It is therefore important that selectors remain impartial.

National duty should come first, not which club one plays for or who one’s brother drinks with. Selection is done by a panel, in consultation with the coach and captain. In most instances, teams select themselves with a few places up for debate.

It is easy to see who has the most influence on team selection.

I personally have no issues with the individual exerting his powers, but what are the other members of the panel there for?

If they cannot stand up for what is right they must resign from their posts. The player in question is Tafadzwa Kamungozi. There is only one person in the world who can try justifying his inclusion in the World Cup team.

It was quite comical as I read the reasons for his inclusion in the touring party. The convenor tried hard to make it seem he was picked on genuine cricketing reasons, but he cannot pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.

How he has suddenly come out of the doldrums to be included ahead of promising young players like Tinotenda Mutombodzi, who has been playing well at international level recently, is a mystery. I think even the player himself had given up on playing international cricket.

I can put my head on the block and say he will not play a single game in the tournament, so it boggles the mind why he has been included in the party. It makes more sense for a young player to learn from being in that environment and contribute to the team’s fortunes in the future.

There are a few other others who raised a few eyebrows, but “Fafi”, as Kamungozi is known among his peers, raised the most questions by his inclusion.

Givemore Makoni is a very strong-willed character as shown by his recent, very public battle with former Education, Sport and Culture minister David Coltart.

It will therefore take equally strong willed individuals to win a debate with him.

What seems to be the case, however, is if some get the players they want they really could not be bothered to argue the cases for the other players.

By the actions or lack of, they are doing the country a major disservice as many players will start to believe that no matter what they do, they will never represent their country.

One former national team player jokingly remarked that they should go play for a certain team and get closer to the selectors and maybe they would be considered for selection.

There is no smoke without fire. Players like Christopher Mpofu have grown into being the country’s premier fast bowler, but have not even been considered for a central contract.

Has he become a bad bowler over night? John Nyumbu is enjoying great success in the restarted Logan cup season. Maybe if he was from the right club, he would have found himself on a late flight to the sub continent.

It has always been the case from the beginning of time that players playing for certain clubs have had easier passage to international cricket.

The likes of Old Miltonians, then Harare Sports Club, were the teams to play for.

Recently Highfields-based outfit Takashinga Cricket Club had taken over. The trend seemed to have been broken a few years ago, but seems back now and stronger than ever.

I don’t have a problem with people pushing their club agendas, but others must make sure they do whatever it takes to ensure everyone has a fair chance to be selected for their country, hence the reason for a panel and not a selector. Share your views with me, I would like to read your take on the issue.