Easterns secure one-day title
Easterns province, formerly known as Manicaland before Zimbabwe Cricket's controversial districts demarcation, have won the Faithwear one-day series, shaking off by virtue of a superior net run-rate the challenge of pre-tournament favourites Northerns. Northerns are made up largely of the old Mashonaland province, the biggest cricket-playing region on Zimbabwe.
Although competition was rather close - simply for the reason that there was really nothing separating the sides in terms of player-quality, with national team players in the West Indies for the World Cup - one would not have to look too hard to figure just how domestic standards have plummeted to an all time low.
ZC tried to foster tight contests by awarding match fees in the local currency, no matter how mediocre, but for the participating teams, that they were taking part in what was apparently a List A event seemed not to rub in.
Even so, the series had its shining lights, especially from the players who have been told or think that they still have a future in Zimbabwe cricket. The likes of the capped Greg Strydom, who was consistent for his Westerns outfit (formerly Matabeleland), Tino Mawoyo for Easterns, and Trevor Garwe (Northerns), at times showed the chasm between them and the rest of the flock.
Not to say there was not signs of young talent coming through. The likes of Thabo Mboyi of Westerns and Tendai Chisoro (Southerns, formerly Masvingo), represented a new breed of young pace bowlers making their presence felt in the fringes.
Promising batsmen such as Tafadzwa Mpofu of Centrals (the former Midlands), and Prince Masvaure of Northerns, also showed that Zimbabwe will for the time being have no short supply of ready novices.
Another area where Zimbabwe cricket can draw positives is the emergence of a breed of players who can bowl and bat. Masvaure is a gifted opening batsman who is also a dangerous swing bowler, either with new or old ball. Southerns have top-order batsman Tendai Machiri, who can also bowl offspin with match-winning results. In one game, he scored a half-century and took four wickets.
Disappointing though was the poor turnout- there could be better consolation for being deprived the World Cup on television. The local media, too, was not more interested. With the four-day Logan Cup coming soon, and a return to Tests in November, Zimbabwe cricket will just have to do better.