ZIMBABWE CRICKET ONLINE
Editor: John Ward
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Zimbabwe Cricket Union
Issue 10, February 4 2000
The last session of Zimbabwe's home international
cricket season has just started at the time of writing, as
England have won the first one-day international at
Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. Ironically it was the
former Zimbabwean Graeme Hick who did most of the
damage, choosing this occasion to hit his first score of
note against his former country.
Without Hick, England would probably have lost, as the
match was evenly poised until Mark Ealham settled in
with him in the vital partnership that was to take them to
victory. If Hick had been playing for Zimbabwe, his
career, as well as this countrys cricketwise, would
almost certainly have been very different. He would be
assured of a permanent Test place, he would doubtless
have had a far better Test record, and he would
probably have been captain. He has been very under-
appreciated by the England selectors and often harshly
condemned by the English public who expected him to
dominate the Test scene as he did the county scene.
The English press poured so much contempt on the
selectors when they did choose him for one Test last
season, and even though he was out to a bad decision
in his only innings they cited this as proof that his was a
poor selection. The selectors will have to be brave men
to choose him for a Test match again in a hurry, such
was the barrage of criticism they endured. Had Hick
stayed in Zimbabwe, he would have been a national
hero. He made his choice, no doubt with some advice
from his county Worcestershire who had a vested
interest in having him qualified for England so they
could employ another overseas player as well, and it is
too late for him to go back now. It was certainly
Zimbabwe's loss, but perhaps Hick's as well.
It was not possible until after the first one-day
international to contact the Zimbabwe players who have
returned from South Africa and get their views on the
matches there. An interview with Henry Olonga is
included in this issue, as are Grant Flower's views on the
match itself where he showed a welcome return to form.
Interviews have also been conducted with Andy Flower
and Heath Streak, but there has been insufficient time to
transcribe them for this issue, so they will appear next
week. Andy contributes his thoughts on his teams
performance in the triangular tournament, where rain
cruelly robbed them of a chance to reach the final, and
Heath talks about his return from his knee injury.
Henry Olonga - Zimbabwe's match winner
Pace bowler Henry Olonga's six wickets for 19 runs
destroyed the back of the England innings in their match
at Cape Town recently, winning the day for Zimbabwe.
He talks to John Ward about the match and the tour.
"But in the circles I move in, Christian circles, I would call
it a day when God's hand rested upon me. That was a
day I can look back on and say, "Well, it was different
from other days." There are key times when God has
equipped me that way, and I remember the World Cup
against India. If you asked me to reproduce that I
probably couldn't do it at will; it's just a moment in time
when God's ability and anointing rest upon me. And I
think that was one of the days when everything went
right; we found how to get batsmen out and it worked.
Save for the wicket of Solanki, the rest were good balls
that deserved to get wickets. It was only the skill and
ability that was divinely resting upon me, I guess."
Grant Flower on the first one-day international
Grant Flower has struggled to find his form this season,
so his unbeaten fifty and three wickets in the first one-
day international against England was a welcome boost
both to the team and himself. Unfortunately Zimbabwe
were to lose by five wickets, thanks to Graeme Hick's
first successful innings in eight outings against the
country he abandoned for the bright lights in 1986.
Grant tells John Ward his view of the match.
"They're good; they're good bowlers on this sort of
wicket. They bowl wicket to wicket and they get their
reverse swing. They get to work on the ball early; it was
reverse-swinging by about halfway, I'd say, and they
know exactly what they're doing. Bowlers like Ealham
and White put it in the right place and they're hard to get
away. Really, they're all about as difficult and as good
as each other."
Of all the young black cricketers trying to break through to the
top level in Zimbabwe, Mluleki Nkala is the one on whom, perhaps
more than any other, even Henry Olonga, cricket lovers and
administrators in Zimbabwe are pinning their hopes. He is the
first black cricketer of genuine all-round talents to appear on
the scene and, all things being equal, he may be considered
likely to be Zimbabwe's first black cricket captain at some time
in the future.
It was a sensational beginning. "Some people have those days on
their first time out," Mluleki says modestly. "I was just lucky.
The first ball I bowled was a yorker, and Tendulkar blocked it;
I could see he was just sizing me up, to see where he was going
to hit me. Then Alistair Campbell [the captain] came over to me
and said, 'Psych, it's no use holding back here; you've just got
to give it your all.' It was all or nothing.
"The next ball I bowled was short and wide; he smashed it, and I
just turned my head, and saw Craig Wishart [at backward point]
dive and catch it. Joy would be the understatement of the year,
I think! My mum had been saying the night before, 'You've got to
get this guy out; I know you can do it.' I just said, 'Yes, mum,
yes!' That was a brilliant start.
Charlie Lock is a right-arm pace bowler who relies primarily on
seam and swing, who will probably go down is history as a man who
had one golden season in international cricket at the age of 33,
and then disappeared from the scene as quickly as he had arrived.
The fully story, though, is not quite as simple as that.
"It was a remarkable achievement to come from six years of nothing
more than club cricket and be playing in the national team within
months. "I've always kept myself fit," he says, "and I think
that's a very important factor, especially with bowlers." He
took six wickets in a Logan Cup match for Mashonaland Country
Districts and then six in an innings for a President's XI against
the touring Tasmanian team, and within a week was a surprise
selection for the Zimbabwe team in its first Test match against
As we go to press, Zimbabwe and England have just finished a thrilling second match in the one day
series with the home squad losing by
the narrowest of margins.
Picture of the Week
For those interested in the history of cricket in this
country, scorecards and match reports for the 1967/68
season are now included in the CricInfo archives section
Read about Colin Bland's first year as national captain
and his successful campaign to have Rhodesia restored
to the Currie Cup A Section, the incredible match
against Orange Free State where Ray Gripper set up a
Currie Cup record that lasted a quarter of a century, and
the promising start to the career of a 20-year-old
Egyptian-born off-spinner of Greek ancestry was still
turning his arm over in first-class cricket a quarter of a
Patrick Sepulveda writes from France:-
Thanks for your last articles on Dirk Viljoen. I think he is
the right person to replace Carlisle. The selectors must
find a place for Viljoen in the team. The last matches
showed that now he is in form and he can bowl well too.
I think Dirk Viljoen and Andy Blignaut must replace
Wishart and Carlisle who seem to have difficulties at
I'm a bit disappointed with the performances of the U19
team. Are you sure that the best players were selected?
Because lots of players seem to be inexperienced.
Stephen Wright, Barney Rogers, Charles Coventry,
Butterworth, Nyakutse, Bullivant, Matsikenyere play
regularly National league matches and had more
The U19 must play more matches. There is no
competition at school level. I wonder why doesn't the
ZCU create a league with the 10 or 12 of the best
schools and include a selection of the best players in
the National league or the Logan Cup.
Good luck to the Zimbabwe team against England.
Reply: I'm in no position to comment on whether the
best Under-19 team was selected, but you have a good
point about the greater experience of some of the
players not chosen. There is actually a lot of high-quality
school cricket played, which isn't evident due to the
reluctance of most schools to send in any results or
reports, but the ZCU does not control school cricket,
which is in the hands of the schools themselves, or the
club selections. We wait and see how many school
players are included in the Logan Cup teams, but school
commitments may interfere with some selections.
Agreed certainly that the Under-19s should be playing
Peter Whalley reports on the
St Johns's College matches against St. Georges, on February 12th
"Heavy overnight rain forced the cancellation of all
scheduled cricket matches. There were 11 games
scheduled, so this was a major disappointment,
especially at First XI level. Since I have been at St.
Johns, from 1995 onwards, no first team game has
been lost to the weather and every game has produced
by Rebecca Gruenfeld (team
I started a cricket team at Arundel at the end of last year
and it is going quite well so far. We have between 20
and 24 players who come to practices.
We are being coached by some people from the ZCU.
We practise every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons
from 3.30 to 4.30 on our athletics pitch due to lack of space elsewhere. I'm not
sure if any other girls' schools play, but Chisipite's team
collapsed a few years ago. Our coach is trying to start
teams at Vainona and Girls' High School. We are
proceeding very slowly at the moment due to there
being more 'new' girls as compared to 'old' girls but we
are getting there slowly.
By Karigai Motsi
The development programme was initiated by ZCU
way back in 1982 to cater for the young enthusiastic
cricketers from the less privileged, high-density, areas.
At its inception it dealt mainly with the cities of Harare
and Bulawayo, and the three coaches employed at that
time in Harare only covered three schools in Highfield
and two in Mbare. Mr David Levy, who was then the
ZCU development manager, worked tirelessly to
increase the number of schools in Harare from four to
ten by the end of 1983.
Grant Flower, Zimbabwe's star in the first one day international
Photograph copyright Paul MacGregor.