Whither Zimbabwe Cricket?


HEATH STREAK was appointed by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) to guide the senior men’s cricket team to the 2019 World Cup to be hosted by England and Wales. 
But he has dismally failed to deliver.
Streak, a brilliant cricketer in his heyday, came inches to achieving the goal.
But the team let him down by lacking oomph when it mattered most.
Can the coach be blamed for lack of nerves in players?
Zimbabwe cricket has become a hard hat area for coaches.
Several coaches with decorated CVs have come to Zimbabwe and failed.
Phil Simmons, Alan Butcher, Makhaya Ntini – whose exit remains a mystery – and Davnell Whatmore, among others, have been labelled ‘failures’ with the Chevrons. 
Ironically, some coaches have gone on to score big after leaving the Chevrons.
Simmons, a former West Indies all-rounder is coaching Afghanistan who won the final against West Indies.
So, after a disappointing show at the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup qualifiers, it remains to be seen what ZC decides.
Zimbabwe, who hosted the World Cup qualifiers, were pre-tournament favourites but failed in the Super Six stage. Zimbabwe lost two matches in the Super Six stage to crash out of the World Cup. They lost to West Indies and minnows United Arab Emirates (UAE). 
After losing to the Windies, the Chevrons had to win against the UAE but unfortunately lost by three runs through the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
After winning the toss, Zimbabwe elected to field.
The visitors set a target of 235/7 in 47.5 overs but Zimbabwe failed to reach the revised 230 runs target in 40 overs as rains threatened the match.
In the last over, needing 15 runs, the Chevrons managed 11 to crash out painfully to UAE.
Scotland too had mother nature to blame against West Indies as they cruelly crashed out following the DLS method because of rains. 
However, Graeme Cremer, Zimbabwe skipper, is under fire from pundits for opting to field when Zimbabwe, during the tournament, thrived on defending their total.
Opting to field was Zimbabwe’s mistake as they failed to reach the set target.
Pressure to qualify for the World Cup could have affected the hosts as the UAE played a ‘natural’ game with nothing to lose.
The UAE, who have secured One Day International (ODI) status, were just party spoilers.
Streak was appointed in October 2016 to guide the flagship team to the World Cup and it has been a tumultuous journey.
He succeeded Stephen Mangongo who was shown the exit soon after an 8-0 whitewash – three Tests and five ODIs – by Bangladesh in December 2014.
The ZC board led by Harare lawyer Wilson Manase dismissed Mangongo who was five months old into the job.
At the rate ZC fires coaches, will Streak be on the former coaches’ list?
Will we soon see an advert for a head coach for the Chevrons? 
Since the appointment of Streak, the Chevrons have played 21 ODIs including the Bangladesh Tri-Nations Series.
The flagship team have played two Tests and two Twenty20 matches to which they lost to Afghanistan in UAE.
All the matches have come during the 17 months the former Zimbabwe skipper has been in charge.
It is the lack of tours that has been worrisome and made the Chevrons the team to beat.
Games separated by six months at a time have done nothing to keep the Chevrons well oiled.
Now that the qualifiers are over, ZC needs to focus on securing matches for the Chevrons and having a competitive local league so that positives from the qualifiers are not reversed.
Going for six months without playing a match should be a thing of the past.
This is the first time since 1987 that Zimbabwe have failed to be part of the World Cup.
The Class of 2018 will go down in the history for failing to qualify for the World Cup to a non-Test playing nation UAE, who have been on a losing streak since 1994.


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