Zimbabwe v India, 4th ODI, Bulawayo

Lack of application costing Zimbabwe - Chigumbura

Liam Brickhill at Queens Sports Club

August 1, 2013

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Elton Chigumbura evades a bouncer, Zimbabwe v India, 2nd ODI, Harare, July 26, 2013
Elton Chigumbura: "[India] always seem to come at a good time, when I'm playing well" © AFP
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The silver lining for Zimbabwe after Thursday's thumping, and it's a very slim lining indeed, is the batting form of Elton Chigumbura. The allrounder, who was unbeaten on 50 as Zimbabwe disintegrated, is their leading run-scorer in the series with 142 runs at an average - boosted by two not-outs - of 71.

Indeed, Chigumbura seems to have a thing for Indian bowlers: in six one-day innings against India, he's been dismissed just twice in compiling 182 runs and has scored at close to a run a ball against them.

"[India] always seem to come at a good time, when I'm playing well," he said. "This is the second time I've played against them, and mostly that has been on wickets that are good to bat on."

It was expected that Zimbabwe would have an easier time of things at Queens Sports Club, where the pitch usually favours batting, but that proved - spectacularly - not to be the case. Chigumbura pointed to a lack of application by his side's batsmen rather than any misreading of the pitch.

"It was a good wicket to bat on. We all know when we play at Queens, it's always a batter's wicket and if you apply yourself then you can make runs. [A lack of application] been the problem for the last three games. Losing early wickets, it's hard to come back, especially if you then keep losing wickets. Some of the batters are now coming in at different times that they are not used to. If we can have no early wickets, then the rest of the batters will end up batting in their natural position.

"The guys are working hard, but I think it's just a matter of being smart when we start our innings, especially our first ten overs when we're losing two to three early wickets. Besides working hard, I think the guys just need to maybe take a little bit of time at the wicket. It all comes together when you stay out there."

A repeated mantra for Zimbabwe during this series has been that they've put in a lot of preparation, and now is the time to put it into action. Their failure hasn't been for a lack of trying, but Chigumbura was at a loss as to how to explain the root cause of their inadequacies. With this series gone, it seems all that is left is to look forward to the next one, and hope it will be better.

"We are all trying to improve in every game, but it's unfortunate on this tour we haven't done so. But if you look at our past history, playing at home we have done well. It's just one of those tours, where things are not coming together on the batting side. We just need to finish well, and hopefully when Pakistan come our batting will gel."

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2013, 12:57 GMT)

Chigumbura as captain, tried before, disaster. He's definitely better off without responsibility. I don't know why our top four are so inconsistent. It's not as if they don't know both pitches and what is required to make the runs. I certainly don't buy the notion that the team is over-valued, if anything they seem to lack belief and mental strength. The ability is there. If you are scared of the opposition before you've even stepped out on the pitch, then it's game over. These boys are too nice, too polite, too overawed by the opposition. Wish they could find some "mongrel" and then it'd be game on. Sad.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (August 2, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

@MeijiMura, in parts there it sounds as if I'm reading my own post! Yes both Wallers must go. Taylor must be dropped at some point, but he is definitely not captaincy material.

In ODI matches which Zim has won, he averages close to half what Elton did, and embarrassingly much less than our chief spinner Utseya did with the bat. As the worst ever captain in matches Zim have won, it's clear that Taylor has absolutely no impact in Zim's ODI successes with him in charge!

Elton is the future of this Zim side, he's been trialled in the captaincy role, which should serve him in good stead going forward, but for now Hami&Vusi are senior players capable of leading the side, while Matsikenyeri, arguably with a better combination of tactician&respected leader, can come into the side and make the role his own.

A lack of finances is unsettling. With the encouraging & positive developments on the ground now, I'm pretty sure the gvt through a more efficient sports ministry will turn things around.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

I think this author is oversimplifying Zimbabwe's problems, form and class. Firstly, irrespective of what they are doing wrong, they live in denial; not accepting the fact that they are playing against world champions. Even a second rung Indian team is going to be too much for them. I am not saying that out of arrogance. They are over-valuing themselves right now.

Honestly, beyond Chigumbura and Taylor, the whole Zimbabwe team deserves to be a club side at best. Once they accept that and try to improve, they will play much better.

Posted by hitesh288 on (August 2, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

Am I missing something? They know the pitch is juicy for an hour or so in the morning so why not reverse batting order? We used to do that in school!!! Put one opener and one lower batter and bide the time so if you are 3 to 5 down you still have all your best batsman still to come. With Indian lacking killing power in death bowling, they have good chance of putting up good score. Where is the manager and tactician?

Posted by MeijiMura on (August 2, 2013, 0:30 GMT)

It's too bad that by the time Chigumbura has come to the crease throughout the series the games have already been won and lost. At least Chigumbura fronted the media this time instead of Taylor. Given his woeful performance behind the stumps and his tally of just 35 runs in four innings with two ducks, Taylor should be dropped and Chigumbura can take over as captain. While they're at it Waller might as well go too. I don't understand why Jarvis has to be everyone else's fall-guy. Zimbabwean cricket is in chaos now. It is literally falling apart. They have no money. The old problems that saw their self-imposed exile in Test Cricket are resurfacing and I strongly question their place in the 2015 World Cup. They had better hope that the last qualifier in their Pool is not Afghanistan otherwise they'll go through the World Cup qualifying stage winless and well beaten in every single game should they be in a position to even afford to make the trip. They're not even remotely competitive.

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