The final game against India gave us reason to smile and feel proud, even though it ended with another defeat. There was an enormous amount of emotion generated by Brendan’s decision to spend the next three years of his career playing county cricket for Nottinghamshire and, of course, he will be greatly missed.
" Brendan has been as loyal to his country as any cricketer in our history, sticking by Zimbabwe Cricket through thick and thin, good times and bad. "
He has been our standout player for the last seven or eight years, carrying the burden of responsibility on broad shoulders. His batting record as captain was outstanding – one of very few international players to actually blossom with the added responsibility of leadership.
Rather than creating an unfillable void, perhaps his departure will have the opposite effect. Maybe those batsmen who performed in his shadow, who subconsciously thought: “It’s ok, we’ve got BT to score the runs” will now take on the extra responsibility which will be required. And it will be required.
The future might be bleak. With qualification almost certainly required for the next ICC Cricket World Cup, and ZC facing a battle to attract fixtures in the short and medium term, either home or away, the players will need to embrace the fact that their futures lie in their hands. By winning more games and being consistently more competitive, they will ensure themselves a future.
Far too many people make judgements about the game in Zimbabwe from too far away. There are more cricketers in the country than ever before, more schools are playing than ever before and, despite a desperate shortage of funds, the game is growing – in adversity.
" Zimbabwe performed well in this ICC Cricket World Cup – it would be hard for even the meanest critic to deny that. "
There were moments, well into every single game, where the outcome was in doubt. Chris Gayle survived a first-ball LBW on review before his 215. South Africa were 83 for four. The Ireland game went to the last over… Yes, they are “what ifs” and “maybes”.
As Managing Director of Zimbabwe Cricket I am committed to making us an appreciated force in the world once again. If I didn’t believe we had the playing resources to make that happen, I wouldn’t be wasting my time. I just hope that the game’s global administrators haven’t already made up their minds. We need the playing experience from future tours to survive, grow and prosper. There is no way the smaller nations can survive if the big ones play amongst themselves and ignore us. Let’s grow the game all round, not just at the top.
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