Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE Cricket coach Heath Streak believes playing lots of cricket is the key to transforming the country’s fortunes following last month’s disappointing 2-3 loss to Afghanistan in a five-match ODI series played in Harare.
The Afghans rolled Zimbabwe over for 54, helping the visitors seal a 3-2 series win with a 106-run Duckworth-Lewis method victory in the final ODI played at Harare Sports Club.
Speaking on the sidelines of his unveiling as the new president of the Old Mutual Heath Streak Academy Trust yesterday, Streak said they are going to lobby for more games at an International Cricket Council scheduling meeting.
Streak flies out of the country for an ICC scheduling meeting in Dubai today alongside ZC managing director Wilfred Mukondiwa and convener of selectors and development officer Tatenda Taibu.
“I believe the way forward is simply playing more cricket because Zimbabwe is starved of enough cricket. Look, before playing Afghanistan, we last played that triangular series about two and a half months ago and that was too much time of inactivity. Another thing is that it’s a little difficult to step up from domestic to international competition, worse still with little activity on the domestic scene.
“So, we’re going for an ICC scheduling meeting tomorrow and we will certainly lobby for more cricket,” said Streak.
He recalled that the last time Zimbabwe cricket enjoyed a good run was in the early 2000s when they played lots of cricket.
“I remember my best time of cricket was in early 2000 when in one year we won four out of nine Test matches and won a number of ODIs. The reason we did well was because we were playing lots of cricket,” said Streak.
Against Afghanistan, the Chevrons avoided losing the series early by winning their third match even though they had been bowled out for a paltry 129 runs after 32.4 overs, with young Tarisai Musakanda top scoring for Zimbabwe with 60 runs.
Zimbabwe then went on to bowl out the Asians for 126 runs after 29.3 overs.
Zimbabwe’s batting in the series left a lot to desired and even though they managed to win the third and fourth games, their batting was pathetic.
In the second ODI which they lost by 54 runs, Zimbabwe managed 184 runs in 42.1 overs.
Zimbabwe won the fourth ODI to draw the series level by seven wickets with 118 balls remaining through the Duckworth-Lewis method.
The Chevrons were chasing a target of 105 runs from 42 overs, having bowled out Afghanistan for 111 after 38.5 overs.
In their chase, the Chevrons lost three wickets as they comfortably scored 107 runs.
That fourth ODI victory seemed to give Zimbabweans hope that the Chevrons were going to make it three wins on the trot. But alas, the Chevrons flattered to deceive as they were taken out for 54 runs.
Afghanistan have beaten Zimbabwe 11 times in 19 meetings.
In October 2015, Afghanistan became the first non-Test-playing country to win a multi-game bilateral ODI series against a Test side when the beat Zimbabwe 3-2 at Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club.
In 2014, Zimbabwe blew a 2-0 lead to draw a four-match ODI. That was followed by Afghanistan’s 3-2 ODI series win plus a 2-0 T20 victory at Queens Sports Club in 2015.
Playing at a neutral venue, Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates last year in January, Zimbabwe lost 3-2 to Afghanistan.