The Sunday Mail
AS the 2019 ICC-Cricket World Cup burst into life at the Oval in England on May 30, Zimbabwe’s Chevrons were regrouping at Harare Sports Club and still coming to grips with the disappointment of missing out at the global showcase.
It is the first time since 1983 that Zimbabwe will be missing an edition of the World Cup.
Instead of being in England, the Chevrons were going about their business in a centre wicket practice match at Harare Sports Club.
Such is the reality of their failure to make it to England for the 12th edition of the ICC-Cricket World Cup.
Zimbabwe will however, be active in Europe, firstly with a three One-Day game series in Netherlands between June 19-25 before touring Ireland for three ODIs and T20s from July 1-13.
The squad is in camp preparing for this European tour and head coach Lalchand Rajput, who didn’t directly feel the pain of missing out on the World Cup, has noticed hunger and focus on his boys.
According to the 57-year-old Indian coach, who replaced Heath Streak (fired after failing to qualify for the World Cup), watching the World Cup at home has ignited hunger in his charges and qualifying for the World T20 Cup in Australia next year can heal the wounds of the failed UK mission.
“This team has been there in all the Worlds Cups and this is the only time we aren’t there. That has really hurt all the players,” said Rajput.
“But the guys are working hard, you can see the effort. So it’s important we put the World T20 in mind, we have winning momentum leading up to the tournament,” Rajput said.
To make it Down Under for the WorldT20 Cup, Zimbabwe will have go through a qualifier set for October in the UAE, although there are unconfirmed reports that the tournament could be moved to Zimbabwe.
Being at home while the best 10 teams are entertaining the world has also come as a reminder to the Chevrons, that there is life outside the Oval boundary.
All-rounder Sikandar Raza admits the playing days will pass and life has to go on.
“I have been thinking life after cricket for a year now.
“There were a lot of things that changed, you know there were doubts over where we were going.
“So I have started thinking about it, hopefully we will have something by the time I hang up my boots,” Raza said.