Speaking ahead of the Zim/Ind/NZ triangular tournament, new Zim coach Kevin Curran has spoken of his hopes for a rapid improvement in his team's performances:
Curran, who played 11 Tests for Zimbabwe apart from being one of the most effective overseas players in English county cricket, said that Zimbabwe had turned out world-class cricketers in spite of having a small first-class structure that comprised only four provinces. "The intensive and long standing sports culture is why this small country has produced a number of world-class sportspeople over the years," said Curran. "I want all the team to rapidly improve by 5%, let's say, because that will impact on the team as a whole. I am a team man but also a really competitive person, and always have been. I want that to rub off and I'm sure it will."
Zim's one-day performances, while still poor, haven't been quite as disastrous as their recent Test outings, so any improvement would be more than welcome - even if it would upset the circling vultures.
Referring to calls from the NZ Government and others for New Zealand to abandon their tour of Zimbabwe, Andrew McClean writes:
Every player has the opportunity to say "no" just as Stuart MacGill did prior to Australia's tour of Zimbabwe last year. For politicians to attempt to make the players' decisions for them is an insult to their intelligence. Agreeing to tour does not mean that a player is making a statement one way or the other. Nor is he required too. It has been suggested that the New Zealand team will avoid situations that might be seen as promoting the regime of Robert Mugabe. Frankly, it is a line not needed at all as cricket teams don't tour anywhere to make political statements, they tour to play cricket. Zimbabwe is no different: the players will train, sleep, eat and play.
Political issues are not only an irrelevant consideration for the ICC at present, they can, as here, have the effect of countering the promotion of cricket. If New Zealand and other international sides do not arrive, what chance of cricket thriving in Zimbabwe? Should Zimbabwe's children have their cricket dreams stolen?