HARARE – Experience counts for nothing when you continuously do the wrong things over and over again.
This is exactly the problem with the Zimbabwe cricket national team which was put to the sword by the touring India side during the just-ended Killer Cup ODI series at Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe came into the series bragging about having played more ODI matches than the visiting second string India whose combined game time was way below that of their captain MS Dhoni alone.
A number of the current crop of Zimbabwean cricketers were thrown into the deep end of international cricket following the ‘rebel’ saga of 2004 when experienced white players quit the game.
The likes of Hamilton Masakadza, Elton Chigumbura, Tawanda Mupariwa, Vusi Sibanda and Chamu Chibhabha were all fast-tracked into the team during that period.
If you combine the number of ODIs played by the quintet above, you will get a staggering 602 matches.
Against India, the hosts were totally hopeless as they lost the first ODI by nine-wickets before succumbing to an eight-wicket loss in the second game.
The Indians completed a clean sweep winning the final match by 10 wickets.
The visitors showed sheer determination to fight and win matches while for the hosts it was only a matter of fulfilling the fixtures.
It was however, not surprising to see the team struggling on the field as everything that happened in the build-up mirrored the disaster that was to follow.
The Tawengwa Mukuhlani-led Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board in their wisdom found it fit to sack coach Dav Whatmore days before the first match.
Whatmore was sacked for the team’s poor performance at the ICC World T20 held in India back in February.
ZC spent four months reviewing that disastrous outing when it was clear the team had performed dismally losing to Associate nation Afghanistan and only to act on the eve of an important series against a top side like India.
It speaks volumes of the administration running the affairs of the game; a fish rots from the head and no serious cricketing nation can afford to make such ignorant decisions.
As if that was not enough, the board again in its wisdom went on to relief batsman Hamilton Masakadza from captaining the team in all formats replacing him with his deputy Graeme Cremer on an interim basis.
The towering batsman from Manicaland Mountaineers without any doubt felt hard done that the board would axe him having superintended over the team in only three T20s — he probably deserved a lit bit of time.
All this could have worked against the confidence levels of the players although ultimately the players are wholly to blame for failing to rise to the occasion against a second string Indian side.
ZC also saw it fit to sack chief selector Kenyon Ziehl on the eve of the India series and replace him with Tatenda Taibu.
The former Test captain has been out of the game for the past four years concentrating on his chosen life in the church.
Although Taibu’s cricket credentials cannot be doubted; how can a man who has been out of the game since 2012 and who does not consume media products due to his religious beliefs, make informed decision as the chief selector?
With such inept administrators and below average players, the local game is headed for the doldrums.