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Thursday, 31 December 2009

A-Z of Zimbabwe Cricket 2009: Part 6 [P-R]

P - Priceless Price Scales New Heights

Price is a famous surname in Zimbabwe, what with legendary golfer Nick Price scaling enviable heights in his preferred sport. But nobody would have expected his nephew, a certain Raymond William Price, who was lucky to survive meningitis caught as a baby that resulted in partial deafness and severe coordination problems that took years to return to normalcy, to reach anywhere near his uncle's reputation. But Ray Price himself had other ideas - by the time he walked out of the Zimbabwean Cricket team with other rebels in 2004, he had already established himself as one of the leading spinners in the world, a wicket taking marvel in tests and run containing bowling machine in ODIs.

Ever since his comeback in late 2007 to Zimbabwe fold, Price has played the role of "cheif mentor" for the young and developing Zimbabwe national squad to perfection, and in 2009, he not only continued his stingy run containing habits in ODIs, but took wickets in heaps against teams ranging from Kenya to South Africa. He won a match almost single handedly against Bangaldesh with sensational contributions with both bat and ball at the beginning of the year, and never looked back after that. He scaled new hieghts in ICC ODI bowling rankings by reaching as high as 3rd, and with more cricket against higher quality opposition, his achievements could have been even more glorious. There certainly is no doubting the thought that Price has already reached the legendary status in Zimbabwean Cricket, similar to the Flower brothers, Heath Streak and David Houghton.

Here's hoping for an equally brgiht, if not better, 2010 for this priceless contributor.

Q - Queens Sports Club Roars Back to Life

Ever since Zimbabwe withdrew itself from Tests, little international cricket had been played at the country's second stadium, the Queens Sports Club of Bulawayo. The reason floating around for not organizing matches in the picturesque stadium was that it was not financially feasible. Other stories pointed fingers at lack of facilities and lack of maintenance, which had made the ground unfit for top level compitition. But cricket returned in full flow to Bulawayo this year, with the 5 match ODI series against Bangladesh organized entirely at QSC. The ground also became witness to the world record score of 194* by Charles Coventry, against Bangladesh earlier this year. With franchise cricket making its way in, Matabeleland Tuskers were based out of Bulawayo, making QSC their home ground, as it was the case with the erstwhile Westerns, who won the domestic T20 title of 2008/09 season earlier this year, when the matches were organized at Bulawayo entirely.

R - Ripped Apart in Chittagong

The lowest point of the year for Zimbabwe was certainly the 4th ODI played at ZACS, Chittagong on 3rd November 2009, when the team won the toss, chose to bat first and folded up for a paltry 44. It is one of the lowest totals ever in ODI cricket, and certainly the lowest by any team against Bangladesh. There were arguments that the pitch was not fit enough for an international match, but a lot of blame must anyway go to the Zimbabwean batsmen, most of whom got out for soft dismissals, exposing their inability to handle left arm spin bowling. Captain of the day Hamilton Masakadza did accept that the team management misread the pitch, but the damage had been done. Only saving grace for Zimbabwe on that fateful day was that they managed to snare 4 of Bangladeshi wickets before they could hit their winning runs, thanks to the spin duo of Price and Cremer.

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