As I write this, the England cricket team lead this years Ashes clash against the Aussies 1-0 and I think it would be fair to say that they have completely outplayed them.
So what has this to do with Zimbabwe I hear you ask? Well one person who is unlikely to receive much recognition, but has much to do with England’s recent excellent performances is former Zimbabwean captain Andy Flower.
Alongside his former team mate Henry Olonga, their brave stance in protest at “the death of democracy” in Zimbabwe was very brave as well as inspirational, but it also put an end to both players international careers for Zimbabwe.
We should not however forget that Andrew Flower was Zimbabwe’s greatest ever player:
In 63 Tests between 1992 and 2002, he scored 4794 runs at the elite average of 51.54. He was a top-class batsman and a fine player of spin bowling in amassing more than 16,000 first-class runs. What is also forgotten is he was also Zimbabwe’s wicketkeeper and has 160 Test dismissals. Both he and Adam Gilchrist are clearly the two best ever batsmen/keepers at Test level.
Andy happened upon the job of England head coach’s role after the falling-out between star player Kevin Pietersen and former coach Peter Moores in January 2009. Moores was removed from his post as was Pietersen from the leadership and a new era in English cricket was born.
As Andy was Moores’s assistant he took over as caretaker coach for the tour of the West Indies and although things didn’t start that well (England were bowled out in Jamaica for just 51), since then they have in the most part flourished. Flower appears to be a man on a mission and will not rest until England climb to the top of the world rankings and whilst the Ashes are important, England under Flower have bigger things on their mind as the real test will be when they take on India at home during the UK summer.
Although Flower is a quiet person, when he speaks, the players listen. Growing up in Zimbabwe has moulded him into a hard nut and shaped him as a man. The players respect him, they play for him, and that brings a harmonious team. The results are clear. Make no mistake England are a far far better team thanks to a Zimbabwean called Andrew Flower!
Zimbabwe Cricket Books
Amazon, have a bunch of Zim related cricket books, including "Blood, Sweat And Treason" by Henry Olonga, “A History of the Rhodesia and Zimbabwe National Sides” by Jonty Winch who traces the history of cricket in this country (Zimbabwe) from the first recorded game played in 1890, through two World Wars and a guerilla war, to the comparative peace of post-independence and eventual world recognition in the 1980s when Zimbabwe was able to send a side to England to take part in the I.C.C. Trophy competition which it won.
There is also the Autobiography of another great Zimbabwean cricket coach Duncan Fletcher “Behind the Shades”
At the moment Amazon UK don’t have as wide selection as the US site, but I have ordered books from the US and had them delivered to the UK with no problems.
Zimbabwe Cricket on Amazon.co.uk
Where to Buy Blood, Sweat and Treason
Currently available in Hardcover it is available online through Amazon, in the UK and US