HARARE – GOOD cricket commentators make the game interesting, and I have to say I found Chishty Mujahid quite refreshing during Pakistan’s tour here couple of months ago.
Widely regarded as the grand old voice of Pakistani cricket, I enjoyed Mujahid’s sense of humour and well-balanced views, and throughout the series I felt he did not show any disrespect for a thinly-assembled Zimbabwean team many expected to be blown away by an opposition way more skilled and talented than them.
But Thursday, as South Africa were staring down a heavy defeat to Pakistan in the first Test at Abu Dhabi, Mujahid made a rather thinly-veiled disparaging remark about Zimbabwe in reference to their historic win over his countrymen in September.
“Losing to a team recently beaten by Zimbabwe will be very painful for South Africa,” stated Mujahid as Pakistan had the South Africans on the ropes.
Maybe it’s just me being over sensitive, and indeed a lot of folk will find Mujahid’s assessment to be fair and rational, if patriotism and emotions were set aside.
But putting it into context, the result cannot be viewed in isolation from a Zimbabwean point of view.
For Pakistan to beat the world’s highest-ranked Test side by seven wickets, just a month after we defeated them here quite remarkably to level the series, shows the abundance of potential that is there in this Zimbabwean side.
If the players are treated better, and availed more game time, that potential can so easily blossom into something to make the world sit up and take notice.
There will always be question marks over Pakistan’s consistency, and quite too often they lack the discipline to maintain a level, a factor which critics reckon contributed to their defeat in Zimbabwe.
But what we all agree on is that this Pakistan team is loaded with talent and has a player pool of real quality to match the best in the world.
And for Zimbabwe, nothing takes away the fact that they beat a very good side in Pakistan, and too see the Asians outplay our Big Brother and old foe from across the border, as they did in the UAE, is quite heartening and proof that Zimbabwe can become a real force if the powers that be find it in their wisdom to put their house in order.
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