The Sunday Mail
Tinashe Kusema Deputy Sports Editor
Whichever way you look at it, Zimbabwe’s disastrous trip to the sub-continent for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup was just that — a disaster — and should be treated as such.
Not only did the country come back empty handed, but it scored yet another low in the now depressing history, as for the second time it became the first full member nation to exit from the competition prematurely.
Prematurely in that the team was already in the departure lounge when other full member states were still arriving for the main competition, bringing shades of the last Twenty20 competition in 2012 where defeats to Sri Lanka and South Africa saw the team walk off the pitch and straight to the airport.
Now, the unthinkable happened once again, but this time it happened at the hands of an Associate member, Netherlands; in this case blurring the “vacuum” between the member states and Associate sides even further.
The initial inclination is for the relevant authorities to go through their paces, a process that usually calls for someone to be held accountable.
The tragedy of it all is that the usual suspects are often captains, coaching staff or the players themselves.
But haven’t we done this before, countless times for that matter, and yet still results continue to evade us?
Haven’t we changed everyone from captains, coaches, players right up to selectors themselves and isn’t it time we addressed the large yellow elephant in the room?
What has been the one constant thing through all this misery, which now dates back to about ten years and how prepared was the team when they left for the games?
Whose responsibility was it to make sure everything was done to ensure a good outing and positive results?
Well, the sad reality of the situation ZC finds itself in and the answers to all the above question point to one entity and that is the Zimbabwe Cricket board itself.
In the last ten years or so, the Peter Chingoka-led board have done nothing but lead the sport on a downward spiral, as the country struggles on the international stage, rife with allegations of mismanagement and not to forget the ever-climbing debt.
One cannot underscore the impact of inadequate preparations and shoddy handling of player welfare had on the team when they left for the World Cup.
Zimbabwe went to war on the backdrop of shoddy preparations and instability precipitated by false starts to its domestic league and T20 preparations, courtesy of numerous stalemates between the board and its players, be it money owed or equal share of T20 windfalls.
I find this akin to sending an army into war with rubber bullets, blunt spears and daggers and I believe the results where a clear reflection of the situation on the ground.
Our opponents Ireland, Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates fared better in terms of preparation and depending on your standpoint, their results reflected as much.
The UAE have been in the thick of things since August last year, taking part in the ICC World Cricket league Championships, tours against Canada and Pakistan, Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup, ICC Twenty20 Qualifiers and the respective warm up games in-between.
The Dutch and Irish had the Nagico Super50 Championships, tours against the West Indies, T20 Qualifiers and Inter-Continental Cup, to name but a few.
The result was plenty of sharpness on the field, commendable performances and better results than us; case in point the Netherlands.
Juxtaposed, Zimbabwe only saw action when India, Bangladesh and Pakistan visited and that was well before September, after which ZC failed to accommodate Sri Lanka and refused to tour South Africa; this while the players were just seated on muted breathe waiting on their money.
The results, out risk of sounding redundant, speak for themselves.
The board has failed to take care of its players, make sure the team is active internationally and sort out its finances.
Maybe the time for new faces has come and with elections on the horizon, it’s time for the current ZC leadership to either shape up or ship out.