Zimbabwe Cricket Online
  The source for Zimbabwe cricket news


Editor: John Ward

Mail the editor

Zimbabwe Cricket Union




Issue 10, February 4 2000

By John Ward

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."


Mluleki Nkala

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

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 South Africa."


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.

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 century later.
[1967-68 season]


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 international level.

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 experience.

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 more cricket. [Contact us]



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 a result."

by Rebecca Gruenfeld (team captain)

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.

Picture of the Week

Grant Flower
Grant Flower, Zimbabwe's star in the first one day international
Photograph copyright Paul MacGregor.

Archive of past issues

Zimbabwe Cricket Online is hosted by CricInfo and supported by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union. The views and opinions expressed here however are those of the authors alone, and in no way reflect the official views of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union or CricInfo.

All material here is copyright Zimbabwe Cricket Online and CricInfo unless otherwise stated, and cannot be reproduced without the explicit permission of these bodies