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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A-Z of Zimbabwe Cricket 2009: Part 5 [M-O]

M - Maruma Stakes Claim

There are just too many quality spinners in Zimbabwe at the moment, and the national team fields a three-pronged spin attack of skipper Utseya, Ray Price and Graeme Cremer very often in ODIs these days. Lack of quality seam bowling options could be one reason for this strategy, but inability to leave out one of these three, since none of them deserve to sit out, could well be another. But add to this mix another set of spinning options in Timycen Maruma, John Nyumbu and up and coming Dylon Higgins, and you have luxury. Maruma has sensed the need to step up a gear and be at his best every time he takes the field in domestic competitions, and as a result has done exceedingly well with both bat and ball, thus pushing the selectors to sit up and take notice.

Maruma has played for Zimbabwe before, but due to the spin luxury of the national team, has found it difficult to make the cut for now. He has scored big and quick runs with the bat in the 2009/10 domestic season, and is the leading wicket taker in the Logan cup this year with 48 scalps at an average of less than 16. He has done everything he can to knock on the doors of the national squad, and would be a serious contender to fill an all-rounder spot when the next team selection is made.

N - No Sight, but Great Vision - du Plessis Continues to Impress and Inspire

Those who have followed Zimbabwean cricket in the last decade, especially their home matches, would in all probability, know about a certain Dean du Plessis, and would certainly have loads of respect for the man, and a lot of sympathy and astonishment too. Dean du Plessis is blind from birth, due to tumors developed on the retina of his eyes, and doctors said he would not survive for long. He is in his 30s now, and still going strong, commenting about the game on radio and television. He developed interest in cricket at a very young age thanks to his brother who used to play, and started following radio commentary, and due to enhanced hearing abilities, started understanding the game just by listening to what was going on.

The most astonishing moments of listening to Dean du Plessis in the commentary box for me was when he announced that Dilhara Fernando had probably the most deceptive slower ball among the bowlers going around the world, and again when he said that the pull shot was the favorite shot of Craig Wishart when he pulled one over midwicket for six. He not only understands the game and analyses it, but also remembers many statistics and facts he has realized in the past, and uses this knowledge to dissect the game as it progresses, never lagging behind the pace of the game for a moment, despite his humongous limitations.

du Plessis became more visible to cricket followers around the world in 2009 when the Times featured an article on him. He was also sent to Bangaldesh tour as part of the official touring party of ZC, and did his first commentary stint outside of Africa, thus gaining recognition and respect of people in the subcontinent. Here's wishing the inspirational du Plessis all the very best and hope we can hear his insightful commentary for years to come.

O - Ozias Bvute becomes the Face of ZC

Zimbabwe Cricket, the governing body for cricket in Zimbabwe, has been in limelight for all the wrong reasons over the past few years, especially after the Heath Streak led rebel walkout. Many point fingers at some of the adminsitrators who probably grew too ambitious and looked to bring in too many changes too early, and in many cases, with personal ambitions taking precedence over cricketing successes of the country. Peter Chingoka, the prsident of ZC for almost two decades, has been the most visible face of ZC administration, but in 2009, he took backseat and allowed the CEO Ozias Bvute get a lot of media visibility. Most stories around the rebel walkout period show Bvute as the prime reason behind dissidance, but it seems he is taking a lot of steps towards correcting his mistakes, or at least appears to have been doing so, probably sensing pressure from the unity government at home, and the ICC. Realizing positive action as the need of the hour, the much criticized Chingoka might have taken a wise step to distance himself from the visible administrative activities in an attempt to develop a new outlook for ZC.

Ozias Bvute also might have played a huge part in reconciling differences with former greats like Heath Streak, David Houghton and Co., who have come back into the system in coaching capacity. It would be difficult to analyze the effect this change would bring, as Bvute too has been around for ages now, but one can hope and pray that this new outlook would bring better days for cricket in Zimbabwe.


Dr Satendra Singh said...

"Zimbabwean fan" is a rare commodity as it was always. So its heartning to see the painstaking efforts you are making. I especially like your unique talent of finding out unseen photographs. I seriously envy your database :)I just hope by the 2011 WC you would gather enough indians to support Zimbos- Situ!

Prasanna said...

I personally loved that photograph of Dean du Plessis. What an inspiring character!

Regarding gathering support, Situ, let us do that together :)

Dr Satendra Singh said...

Always there for any Zimbabwean cause. You, afterall saw me as "MadHead" on ESPNStar.Times have changed and lot of info now available. I remember sticking to cricket samrat, sportstar and ZCU site only and now we have ZCF, ZCN, and detective VP. Keep inspiring people and count me always on ur side. Happy new year buddy.

Prasanna said...

Happy New Year to you too, Zimbabwean Kapoor :)