Zimbabwe news July 28, 2013

Ray Price retires from international cricket


Ray Price, the Zimbabwe left-arm spinner, has retired from international cricket. Price, 37, was included in Zimbabwe's squad for their ongoing one-day series against India but won't be travelling with the team to Bulawayo, the venue for the last two games.

It was widely suspected that this series would be Price's last for Zimbabwe, but with national contracts expiring after India's visit, he has decided to call time on his career mid-series. "I was going to wait until my contract expired to call it a day but, yes, I've decided to retire from international cricket," Price told ESPNcricinfo. "I won't be going with the guys to Bulawayo. I'm retired."

There had been some confusion over Price's place in the squad before the series because he wasn't named in the initial list, but coach Andy Waller insisted that he had always been part of the team. Price was ever present during Zimbabwe's net sessions in the lead-up to the India series, and it had been thought that he would be given a chance to bid farewell with one final match.

That was not to be, however, and he will finish with exactly 100 wickets in 102 ODIs, to go with his 80 dismissals in 22 Tests and 13 scalps in 16 Twenty20 internationals.

"Pricey's called it a day," Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor said. "If he was going to play it was going to be here in Harare. We're going to miss his experience, but in saying that it does give our young spinners who are coming through a great opportunity."

Price's career straddled two distinct eras in Zimbabwean cricket. He debuted as a 23-year old in the third Test of the series against Sri Lanka at Harare Sports Club in 1999, but just as he established himself in the national side he threw in his lot with Heath Streak and the rebel cricketers and found himself ostracised. He left Zimbabwe for England and spent three and a half seasons with Worcestershire.

His refusal of a new county contract in 2007 surprised many, and in November of that year he came out of exile and returned to Zimbabwe in the series against West Indies. Having left as something of a fringe player - particularly in one-day cricket - Price quickly re-established himself as a canny and economical bowler in ODIs.

In 2009, he picked up 44 wickets at 20.61 and ascended to second in the ICC ODI rankings for bowlers. He remained Zimbabwe's senior bowler for several years, and was their leading performer at the 2011 World Cup in India with nine wickets at 18.77. His last match for Zimbabwe was the Bridgetown Test against West Indies in March this year, in which he took just one wicket as the team suffered a heavy defeat.

As important as his bowling was the spirit Price brought to a team struggling to find its way after all the upheavals in Zimbabwean cricket. A fierce adversary, Price bowled left-arm spin with the attitude of a fast bowler, refusing to back down no matter who the opposition and helping instill some backbone in the side.

"He's a hell of a competitor," Taylor said. "He's a guy that plays with his heart on his sleeve. He leaves nothing out on the field, he'll give you everything and he's a real team man. Unfortunately age is not on his side anymore, and he's moving on with his family.

"We'll miss him, but I'm sure he'll still be in the picture with our young spinners coming through and I'm sure he'll always be contributing somewhere along the line."

Though he will no longer be part of the national side, Price will still be a regular at Harare Sports Club. He runs the sports equipment shop at the ground, and will divide his time between the shop, his family and one of his favourite pursuits: fishing.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Faisal on August 1, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    Ray Price surely will be missed by Zimwabe Ray Price was the only good thing happend to Zimwabean crkt in 10 years or so......

  • Sarma on July 30, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    ZCF_Outkast: Kyle Jarvis (14 matches, 6.20 runs per over, 52.07 runs per wkt) is a little lowly rated by DMAC (25.5 marks). SW Masakadza (4 matches, 6.11 runs per over, 22.90 runs wkt) is rated at 46.7 marks. Mushangwe (62.7 marks), Ncube (64.5), Chatara (46.6) are rated ok.

    Utseya is rated (20 matches, 5.09 runs per over, 58.12 runs per wkt) at 57.4 marks. Mpofu is rated at 49.3 marks (5.26 runs per over, 58.89 runs per wkt).

    This rating is done by the system for every match, looking at each bowler's amount of bowling, wkts taken, runs conceded. Best is given as 1,000 and the worst is given 0. 2-year Rating is taken as average of every match rating.

    As for Price, I felt that he was captaincy material; the way he owned the team. Sad that he will not be seen again.

  • Justin on July 30, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    It's very disappointing that the Zimbabwean hierarchy couldn't find it in themselves to give Price a send-off in Harare given his service to the country over so many years. Surely they could have given him at least one game out of the first three in the series. Extremely poor form by the hierarchy and not good for team morale!

  • ZCF on July 30, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    @vsssarma, So your DMAC system does make a bit of sense after all! Kyle is nowhere near that list. Had Shingi played as much as him, he would've have had more than double the amount of wickets he has, and without doubt vastly improved on his economy rate. ZC politics! Mushangwe, Ncube & Chatara who feature are still relatively fresh but that's testament to their potential.

    However, I'm not sure why Mpofu&Utseya don't feature in your list? It seems to me that they've done well - particularly Utseya who's been our best wicket-taker against the Top 8 sides, hence his value! Price's SR is a little worse than theirs and the SR marginally better. (http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=economy_rate;qualmin2=3;qualval2=innings_bowled;spanmax1=30+Jul+2013;spanmin1=30+Jul+2011;spanval1=span;team=9;template=results;type=bowling).

    But very true Price was exceptionally consistent!

  • Anuj on July 30, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Price had to play this series against INDIA to give Indian batsmen a real challenge of spin bowling like MISHRA. If he was playing the result might have been different for the host

  • Sarma on July 30, 2013, 2:37 GMT

    There are some bowlers who stifle opposition; do not allow them to score off them easily and win matches for their team.

    There are other bowlers who take wickets and break the batting of opposition to win matches.

    Both are important but there should be a way to relatively judge them.

    I feel that important bowlers of Zimbabwe have been:

    SW Masakadza: 22.90 runs per wkt in the last 2 years.

    Mushangwe: 4.60 runs per over.

    Ncube: 23 runs per wkt

    Vitori: 23.78 runs per wkt

    Price: 4.82 runs per over

    Panyangara: 4.90 runs per over.

    Chatara: 4.94 runs per over.

    Other bowlers are conceding over 5 runs per over.

    Price remains Zimbabwe's most consistent bowler. In the last 13 matches, he took 11 wkts conceding 612 runs off 762 balls. Brilliant performance.

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    ODI economy personified. In the era of short boundaries and the rising influence of T20, very few bowlers manage to keep runs in check in the ODIs, much less spinners. But Ray Price stands out as a bowler to bow out with an economy rate of less than 4 per over. I think he didn't get as many chances as he deserved, especially during the end of his career, but he made other spinners in the team like Cremer and Utseya look good when he controlled the run rate from his end in the middle overs, and they didn't look as effective after Price stopped getting picked, so now he is only leaving with his reputation enhanced. Like Chris Martin, another underrated bowler but fierce competitor hangs up his boots. Good luck Pricey!

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2013, 18:29 GMT

    Sad that the likes of Ray Price and Paul Strang could not enjoy a "smooth" career, just because they played for Zimbabwe. Both of them were excellent spinners. It was after his struggles with Ray Price, that talk about Sachin's weakness against left arm spinners started.Here's wishing this whole hearted cricketer all the very best in his future endeavors!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 29, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    amazing player, wish zimbabwe cricket didnt run into those problems otherwise he would have had more accomplishments.

  • Sarfin on July 29, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    One of the best spinners in recent past. Unfortunately he didn't enjoy enough reputation because he was in a low ranked team. Wish him all the best.