CricInfo's Switch Hit Cricket Show podcast includes a brief segment this week looking at the ongoing West Indies v Zimbabwe series. You can listen right here (skip forward to 27:30 for the Zimbabwe segment).
Editor's Note: With a by-line like Wiseman Nogothere, it's fairly clear this is an April Fool's article, but hey - it raised a giggle with me...
You can't blame him for optimism. Potentially outgoing Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe appeared in public yesterday, in the midst of the ongoing furore over the election counts & results, to launch Zimbabwe's bit to host the 2015 Cricket World Cup. The centrepiece of the bid is a redeveloped Harare Sports Club ground, capable of holding 50,000 spectators, that is to be built at a cost of around US$50million. Mugabe was bullish about Zim's cricket future:
â€œThe great cricketing countries will come and we will welcome them and we will beat them.â€
Ah, the possibilities...
Business Day - Harare wants next Cricket World Cup
Sometimes you just have to poke fun at the misfortune of others. A result from today's matches in the Women's World Cup Qualifiers:
Bermuda 13 (18 overs; Mienzer 1, Jackson 1, R Smith 1, Loubser 6/3); South Africa 15/0 (0.4 overs; Anderson 4, "Extras" 10). South Africa win by 10 wickets.
That's right, South Africa win after just 4 legal deliveries; Bermuda managed just 3 runs off the bat, with 8 players scoring zero. I think we can safely say that Zimbabwe won't be the worst team in this tournament...
ICC - Loubser Stars as South Africa coast to Victory
A little fun over at brmtaylor.com, where they take an A-Z look at the year gone by for Zimbabwean cricket. Worth a look.
brmtaylor.com - The A-Z of Zimbabwe cricket in 2007
Next time you see a Zimbabwean batting collapse, spare a thought for the West Indies U19 squad, who were bowled out by Barbados for just 18 yesterday in a KFC Cup match. WI batting card below the cut for posterity - although I don't think any of those involved will be wanting to see too much of it. Pedro Collins led the rout, taking 7 wickets for just 11 runs in 7.3 overs. Somehow Zimbabwe's record low of 35 (against Sri Lanka) doesn't seem so bad...
CricInfo - Collins wrecks Under-19s for 18
Shane Warne has released his personal list of the world's 50 greatest cricketers (actually, he lists 53, but let's not comment on his counting skills) - "few can dispute the brilliance of my final top ten", claims the man, but judging from articles I've seen elsewhere, oh yes they can. Of interest to Zimbabwe fans is the man at #36: former Zim captain and world #1 batsman Andy Flower.
The Times - Shane Warne's 50 greatest cricketers
CricInfo are indulging in a little fantasy cricket today, and have come up with what they feel should be Zimbabwe's current first team, if politics and player disputes weren't an issue. Some players who quit for other, personal reasons (such as Murray Goodwin) or have had ongoing injury problems (eg Douglas Hondo) have been ommitted, but the article makes for a good read.
For the record, their ideal XI (in no particular order) is:
Dion Ebrahim, Trevor Gripper, Grant Flower, Stuart Carlisle, Sean Ervine, Tatenda Taibu, Travis Friend, Andy Blignaut, Heath Streak, Ray Price, Anthony Ireland.
And what of the current side, Taibu excepted?
We also did consider the current XI but the general view was that none of them would be able to make this side, although some players would come close. We were still left with a more than useful list of reserves: Gavin Rennie, Barney Rogers, Craig Ervine, Craig Wishart, Colin de Grandhomme (now qualifying for New Zealand), Clint Heron, Brighton Watambwa (who now lives in the USA)...
Perhaps yesterday's hammering by South Africa A will help ZC see sense. But probably not.
CricInfo - Look what you're missing
According to reliable sources, the South African team returning from a short visit to the World Heritage Site, the Matopos National Park which is situated near Bulawayo, were turned away in the evening from local restaurants which had run out of ingredients.
The players then opted for the not-so-healthy option of takeaways from various South African-owned fast-food franchises, but those had also run out of supplies. The only place still serving food was a pizza outlet, which had a long and winding queue. Most of the players were unprepared to wait, leaving them no option but to return to the hotel. Only Andre Nel and Andrew Hall were hungry enough to join the queue, and they were later picked up by the team bus.
It is also reported that the team were left short on the final day of the match in Harare at the weekend, with shortages meaning that there was no "beer, bread or burgers" at the ground according to a local source.
Aw, those poor dears...
CricInfo - South Africa A experience food shortages
In my report on the Ireland v Zimbabwe game, I mentioned that both Ireland and Zimbabwe now needed to win both their remaining games to reach the Super Eight. Having just sat down and worked out the possible permutations, that's not quite the case - but while there are possibilities, don't hold your breath.
Not counting ties or no results (this is complicated enough, thank you), I make it that there are 16 possible sets of results from the remaining 4 games in Group D. 6 of those combinations result in Zimbabwe qualifying; 4 or them will come down to the Net Run Rate calculation between Zimbabwe and Ireland.
The easy option (in maths terms) first: if Zimbabwe beat both Pakistan and West Indies, they're through.
The "need some help" options: if Zimbabwe beat West Indies, and Ireland beat both Pakistan and West Indies; or Zimbabwe beat Pakistan, and Ireland lose both their remaining matches, then Zim are through.
The NRR options: if Zimbabwe and Ireland each win one and lose one of their remaining games, then the Net Run Rate will decide who goes through from Zimbabwe or Ireland.
Clear as mud? Good. I don't guarantee my working is 100% accurate, but it should give a reasonable idea of what Zim needs to progress. The options will narrow a bit after the Ireland v Pakistan match tomorrow (Saturday), so I'll look at this again then.