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Thursday, 24 December 2009

A-Z of Zimbabwe Cricket 2009: Part 1 [A-C]

This series aims to provide a review of the year that was for Zimbabwe Cricket in 2009. Here is the first part...


A - Alistair and Co. Back in Business

Alistair Campbell, David Houghton, Heath Streak, David Mutendera, Dirk Viljoen, John Rennie: All yesteryear stars, came back to the ZC fold by taking up high profile roles, with one intention - to bring back Zimbabwean Cricket to its glory days. In line with the recommendations made by the ICC and quite possibly to position themselves better in view of the new unity government in Zimbabwe, the ZC officials took many steps in right direction this year, and the legends of the past responded by burying the past and came together to rebuild the game in the country.


While Campbell joined in as the chairman of selectors, Viljoen, Mutendera and Rennie joined him in the panel. Houghton agreed to be the technical advisor and director of national coaching, with Andrew Waller assisting him. Heath Streak too returned as the national bowling coach and romours are rife that he would soon take over as full time head coach of the team. With all this happening in a span of few months, suddenly things have started looking up for the Cricket in Zimbabwe.


B - Business as Usual for "Boom Boom" Chigumbura


It was business as usual for Elton "Boom Boom" Chigumbura, as he continued to increase his sixes tally, terrorizing bowlers all around. Despite injury scares towards the end of the year, he continued his all round contributions to the Zimbabwe team, picking wickets regularly while playing the role of the lead pacer, and hitting ferociously to score quick runs when the team needed them desperately. As if two Man of the Match performances against arch rivals Bangladesh were not enough, in the away series against Kenya, he turned out to be their nightmarish exterminator, hitting their bowlers at will to play a big part in a 5-0 whitewash. If his form is anything to go by, many T20 franchises across the world including the ones in the IPL must be willing to shell out decent contracts to get his services. Chigumbura would have to play a very important role if Zimbabwe have to progress well in the T20 World Cup of 2010.


C - Charles Coventry's Coveted Innings


Charles Coventry's effort of equalling the world record for the highest individual score in an ODI, held by Saeed Anwar of Pakistan (and toppling it by virtue of having remained not out - 194* against Bangladesh at Bulawayo), must go down as the most visible individual achievement of the year for Zimbabwe on the cricketing field in 2009. Taking the Bangladeshi bowlers to the cleaners with utmost brutality, Coventry went from 100 that he reached in the 37th over of the innings to 194* towards the end of it. The innings becomes all the more special when you notice that Coventry was building the Zimbabwean innings for majority of the time, as wickets kept falling at the other end. He deservedly recieved a gaurd of honour from his teammates at the end of the innings, but he would have certainly enjoyed the moment much better if the team had managed to win the match on that day.

Coventry built up to that mammoth knock with some nice scores of 40s and 50s, but post this innings, he suffered a huge slump in form, and failed to impress even domestically for the rest of the year. If he can recreate the magic in the coming years, we can be assured of watching a few more explosive top order knocks from the bespectacled dimunitive wonder.

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