The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE Chevrons skipper, Graeme Cremer, is not a happy camper.
As the team marches towards March for the ICC 2019 World Cup qualifiers, results have not gone their way, with the skipper declaring that it is now time for his boys to “wake up and work up”.
Zimbabwe were crushed by 154-runs by fellow Group B member at next month qualifying tournament, Afghanistan, in the first ODI of the five-match series last Friday.
Every match is important for Zimbabwe who should finish in the top two of the 10-team qualifying tournament to play at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in the UK.
And ahead of today’s second ODI versus Afghanistan at Sharjah in the UAE, captain Cremer wants better performances from his boys.
“There are definitely some concerns in the team,” he said.
“We were terrible with the ball at the back end of the innings and our batsmen not doing a job at this stage.”
Zimbabwe were bowled out for 179 chasing Afghanistan’s second highest ODI score of 333.
It is Zimbabwe’s fourth sub-200 score in five matches following scores of 170, 290, 198, and 125 in the Tri-Nations series against Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh last month.
“It is a wake-up call, we know we are a better team than what we are showing,” said Cremer.
“We need to come back stronger in game two, it will be very hard to win the series if we go two nil down.
“Guys are still confident we can claw our way back, still four games to go (in the Afghanistan series).
“We know conditions are very different in Zim than here, and I feel we are more comfortable playing at home, so the squad we have is the right squad leading into World Cup qualifiers,” he said.
The Sunday Mail understands the 15 men (including Tarisai Musakanda who is expected to join the team) in the UAE will be Zimbabwe’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers.
The only change will see Sean Williams return if his finger injury heals in time. “We have not selected the final squad yet, Williams is still on the injury list at this stage and we are just waiting for him to be fit again, and Tari Musakanda is on his way here, “Cremer said.
The 31-year-old leg-spinner is the fifth Zimbabwean bowler to reach 100 ODI wickets.
He has picked up 103 wickets in 85 innings and Cremer goes into today’s match needing two wickets to surpass Grant Flower (104 wickets) on Zimbabwe’s top wicket-takers list.
Two wickets will see Cremer jump into third position behind former captains Prosper Utseya (133) and Heath Streak, current coach, who picked up 237 ODI wickets for Zimbabwe.
“To be honest, I would rather be winning than bowling well, winning as a team is much better than any individual performances.
“The qualifiers are a huge motive for doing well, that is our ultimate goal,” said Cremer.