source: Cricket Zimbabwe

The World Cup Qualifiers Tournament is an ICC event but it’s more crucial to Zimbabwe both- from the standpoint of sports and as a country. The whole country comes together to rally behind its Men in Red and to cheer them to qualify for the Marquee Tournament in India later this year. For now, the big question is, can Zimbabwe as a country and as a cricket board take advantage of this opportunity?

Zimbabwe as a country has seen some fine days not only during Colonial rule but after getting Independence too. As a matter of factly, from 1980 to 2000, the Zimbabwean economy was thriving and promising to grow further; the society was mixture of majority blacks and minority whites. But then a decision by President Robert Mugabe to overturn the centuries of injustice by introducing hasty reforms, which resulted in a spate of disaster for the Zimbabwe as a country.

The economy collapsed, the society disintegrated and the Cricket team slumped into oblivion.

A comparision of Zimbabwe Cricket from 1983-2004 and post 2004 paints two contrasting pictures, the earlier one showed lot of promise while the latter comprised of unending struggle. It was similar to the scenario which Zimbabwe as a country went through.  Zimbabwe is live example, which is a proof that it is hard to separate sports from politics. This is the reason why the World Cup Qualifiers are important for them as a cricket team as well as a country.

It will give them an option to showcase their organizing ability to the world as good host; the revenue will surely boost Zimbabwe Cricket but will also help in improving Zimbabwe’s image as a country.

Coming to the Zimbabwe Cricket, the tournament is crucial for Cricket in Zimbabwe, the board has been struggling financially for long period of time. The Tournament has created a lot of buzz among locals and being ICC tournament it will bring healthy gate money and more importantly lucrative broadcast money.

But beyond all this the most important part which will help Zimbabwe in long term will be their team’s performance on the field. The assessment of a country’s growth in sports is measured from its performance on the field and Zimbabwe player know how crucial this tournament is for them especially in long term. If Zimbabwe qualifies it will give them an opportunity to contest among top 10 teams in the World Cup 2023, it will give their players a much needed exposure to the pressure cooker situation of the Global tournament.  

But World Cup Qualifiers have much more riding, If Zimbabwe players get the opportunity to play in the World Cup, few good performances might get them an Indian Premier League (IPL) Contract. Potentially, life changing and lucrative to the point of finding luxury, who would say no to such a thing.

The money that they might get will likely inspire youngsters to take up cricket. It will also increase the player pool of the country.

On the other hand the money that Zimbabwe Cricket Board will receive minimum 1,00,000 US Dollars if they qualify for the World Cup. The money can be pumped up in Infrastructure, paying salaries to players, to the support staff and other administration staff. 

Zimbabwe players know if this doesn’t happen it might result into the return of the dark times of post 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. Combining with early exit, misadministration and covid-19, Zimbabwe had very tough time for almost two years.

Therefore the tournament becomes a source for these players to fulfill the dream that was left shattered last time.  Especially senior players like Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza and Sean Ervine for whom it might be the last chance to participate in the World Cup.

All these things make it important that these senior players are well supported by the youngsters like Ryan Burl, Bradley Evans, Tadiwanashe Marumani and Wessly Madhevere. It is also important their bowlers come to perform at this crucial juncture. That’s why Blessing Muzrabani, Tendai Chatara, Richard Ngarva and Wellington Masakadza has to ensure that they don’t let the opposition go away.

There is lot of optimism among players and fans. After struggling from 2018-2021, the team has shown lot of promise in past two years .They have played different brand of cricket. Their supporters have also started to believe in them and rally around the team, the Castle corner at Harare Sports Club is their place from where they show strong support to the team.

Zimbabwe has home advantage and above all the backing of vociferous crowd, which the other teams don’t have while this, might work for them but we all know the pressure of being host in such event.  Things can go wrong at any point of time and the same supporters might be on your back all the time, yelling at you even for small mistakes. Zimbabwe doesn’t want this scenario to occur.

Zimbabwe is the third most senior team in the 10- team tournament but that does not means they need to be complacent, they know how hard it is sometime to beat the new teams. They have learned the hard lesson in 2018 edition, hopefully this time they will bring joy to their nation.



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