There is a currently a rebirth taking place in Zimbabwe, especially when it comes to cricket. The recently completed Stanbic Twenty20 series was a huge success where some ageing and some top current cricketers from all around the globe combined with the locals to put on a cricket tournament of significant quality.
The explosive final between Mashonaland Eagles and MidWest Rhinos went down to the last ball and attracted a record crowd of about 10 000 fans at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
The Eagles staggered home to a one-run victory that gave them the trophy and a defining triumph in a quality field.
The Stanbic Twenty20 series staged a coup by luring West Indies legend Brian Lara to come out of retirement and play one more time and there were also a number of other quality players, coming from all around the globe. These included Lou Vincent, the former New Zealand opener; Chris Harris also from New Zealand, the ultimate dibbly-dobbly bowler and bits and pieces player; Nick Compton, grandson of the legendary Denis; Ryan ten Doeschate, the highly rated Dutch all-rounder, born in Port Elizabeth but playing for Essex; Andrew Hall, the one-time Protea; Riki Wessels, son of Kepler, playing for Northamptonshire and rated as a future England wicketkeeper; Paul Horton, an Australian-born Lancashire opening batsman, and Lance “Zulu” Klusener another South African.
All the Stanbic Twenty20 games were also shown live on SuperSport for the African audience and were also screened in Asia where cricket has its biggest market.
After the final, Zimbabwe Cricket chief executive Ozias Bvute said that “Twenty20 is a global phenomenon and we used it to attract a new cricket audience in Zimbabwe and we believe that once we have that audience, it will then be easier to transfer their allegiance to other forms of cricket in this country, including the 50-overs game.
“We will need to do a lot more work to convince people about the relevance of the longer version of cricket but that’s a challenge that we are ready for.”
Bvute said the sight of a full-house at Harare Sports Club on Sunday was a vindication of their efforts to try and take the game to the people.
He also went on to say that “It has always been our wish for cricket to grow out of being just a minority sport into a genuine national sport and I think the support that the public has shown is indicative that we are well on our way to achieve that.”
In related news, Zimbabwe have also named their squad for the tour to Bangladesh, where they will go into the series looking for their first ODI victory since they beat Ireland in September, but will face a Bangladesh side buoyant after their recent 4-0 drubbing of New Zealand.
Elton Chigumbura (capt), Tatenda Taibu (wk), Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingi Masakadza, Regis Chakabva, Chamu Chibhabha, Raymond Price, Ryan Butterworth, Craig Ervine, Prosper Utseya, Keith Dabengwa, Chris Mpofu, Keegan Meth
Zimbabwe Cricket Books
Where to Buy Blood, Sweat and Treason
Currently available in Hardcover it is available online through Amazon, in the UK and US
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