18 April 2019

Zimbabwe: Chevrons Eye Next Step

Now that the debate has been settled as to who is the better team between Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe should now put the foot on the gas on the road to recovery -- by looking to dominate the battle of "the other teams" of world cricket.

It never should have been a debate in the first place. It is clear that Zimbabwe, as a cricketing nation and as a team, has reached rock bottom. But it has not quite reached the lowly levels of the UAE, at least for now.

The devastating defeat to the Emiratis last year, which prevented Zimbabwe from going to the World Cup for the first time since 1983, was a shock result which should be viewed as such, a great upset -- and upsets do befall the best of sportsmen in the world.

Be that as it may, Zimbabwe -- over four one-day internationals against the UAE -- still needed to reassure themselves and the rest of the cricketing world that, on the whole, they can still play this game better than some parts of the world.

The series against the UAE needed to be won convincingly, too, to put to rest any lingering doubt.

While a 4-0 whitewash was just the outcome Zimbabwe needed, the margin might not exactly reflect the brutal dominance such a result should.

Twice in the series, in the second and final ODIs, Zimbabwe had to pull themselves out of a spot of bother.

But in the end, you cannot take it away from the team, some sensible cricket was played all round and was maturely exhibited in a manner that will please everybody.

So what's next for Zimbabwe in the rebuilding exercise?

The African side tour Ireland in July for three ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals, again on a mission to put a distance between them and the second-tier sides of world cricket.

The Irish are a different kettle of fish. Failure to qualify for the World Cup was a huge setback in the continuous development of this new Test-playing nation, so they will be out to atone for that disappointment -- in home conditions -- with positive results over a Zimbabwean side they have always felt they can be peers with.

As for Zimbabwe, after putting the UAE in their rightful place, the task -- especially with Afghanistan having overtaken them -- is to show that they still boss most of the sides at the bottom of international cricket.

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