MATABELELAND Tuskers captain, Gavin Ewing, believes there is need for franchises to channel most of their energies in the development of more young players from the structures to ensure continuity. Ewing was responding to the retirement of teammate, Terry Duffin, who announced his decision to leave the game last week at the age of 30.
Ewing said the country's five franchises should have a reliable conveyor belt that continuously produce young talents every season.
Duffin, a former Zimbabwe national team player, played 74 first class matches since he made his debut during the 2000/2001, scoring 3772 runs before calling it time.
"He has been a great servant and did very well for the team up the order and with a guy like him retiring from the game we will really need to look seriously into our development structures.
"Tuskers are not a young team. So when we get to this stage we need to start looking at the young guys.
"It's a challenge to all franchises to see to it that we get young players consistently coming up through the system.
"How we are going to do it is another thing but last year we had Brian Chari graduating and he did very well. Now it's up to others like Godwill Mamhiyo and Tony Mupariwa to step up," said Ewing.
The Bulawayo-based franchise is on the threshold of reaching a milestone in domestic franchise cricket by claiming their third Logan Cup title in a row.
A draw in their previous game against Mountaineers was enough to give them the advantage they needed ahead of their second-placed rivals with one match in hand.
Tuskers have won the last two editions of the first class cricket competition and are six points clear at the top with 35 points in the bag. Ewing said Tuskers have thrived in this format because of their well -orchestrated all round performances.
"It's not like we are a cut above the rest of the teams in terms of talent because if we really were then we should have been dominating the game across all formats.
"But as Tuskers we seem to have found a formula that works for us in four-day cricket. We try to bat once and then let the bowlers do the rest, mindful of the fact that to win a Logan Cup match you need to get 20 wickets.
"Our bowlers didn't let us down in that respect but we missed them in the last two games which ended in draws. I am sure all the teams missed their national team players.
"But I must salute all the franchises for their efforts. Mountaineers had a good season and they really pushed us in the Logan Cup and (Mid West) Rhinos are great fighters too," said Ewing.
Tuskers have a bye this week and will face Southern Rocks in the last match of the season at Masvingo Sports Club.
There are likely to be a number of changes in that match because Sean Williams will be going to the West Indies to join the national team on Sunday while enterprising all-rounder Glen Querl is doubtful.
Ewing said Querl has played lots of cricket this season and would need to get rest before he returns to his base in England.