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Will the ‘Special One’ come to the party?

Tinashe Kusema
ZIMBABWE all-rounder Solomon Mire’s return to the Chevrons setup was heralded as a second coming of sorts. Here was Zimbabwe preparing to go to war against a familiar foe in Afghanistan after months of no cricket action. Under normal circumstances, they should beat Afghanistan but it has similarly had their number in recent times.
Of the 15 times the two sides have met in the one-day arena since 2014, the Asians have won nine times as compared to Zimbabwe’s six.
The run-up to the series was mediocre at best, as false starts to the domestic season saw the Chevrons’ players lacking in much needed game time.
The lowest part of their preparations was when gaffer Heath Streak was forced to drop several players on the eve of the series.
Among them were the likes Chamu Chibhabha, Tendai Chisoro, Hamilton Masakadza and Sean Williams, who are alleged to have failed their fitness tests.
Enter Solomon Mire.
When news of Mire’s return first filtered through, once again they was reason to rejoice as cricket boards were abuzz with discussions on what this meant for Zimbabwe’s future.
Journalists and fans alike sharpened their tools in anticipation for the 27-year-old’s arrival.
“There was no crowd waiting for me at the airport when I arrived, if that is what you mean,” said Mire when asked how his return was been treated.
“Obviously, there are a lot of expectations about my return, and I am well aware of that, but my job here is simple.
“I am here to play to the best of my ability and hopefully help the team win games,” he said.
Now a week after arrival, and more importantly a game down in the ongoing series against Afghanistan, there are more questions than answers as to Mire’s standing in the team.
On why he is back, Mire said, “Firstly, when I went away, I did so to do some soul searching.
“I wanted to find out what I can do after my cricket career was over, and as such be able to play the game without any fears or anxiety,” he said.
“I decided to go back to school and enrolled in a course in fashion and designing at RMIT University in Melbourne.
“I concentrated more on the designing part, and used those skills to open up my own company in footwear design,” said the former Midwest Rhinos.After graduation last year, the 27-year-old then found himself at impasse as far as his cricket career was concerned.
On one hand, he could continue plying his trade in Australia and eventually try make a push for a place in the Aussie team.
On the other, he could hid his country’s call and return.
He chose the latter.
“As a permanent resident of Australia, I would have been eligible to play for them in 2019. That was an option.
“Unfortunately, Cricket Australia has a very rich and talent laden developmental system.
“I thought it wiser to use up the peak years of my career playing for my country and try get more exposure on international stage, as compared to using up this time playing domestic cricket and then hoping for the best,” he said.
Mire made his official comeback during Friday’s 12-run loss to the Asians in a rain-affected encounter at Harare Sports Club.
The Duckworth-Lewis method had to be used after rain struck with Zimbabwe on 99 for four and chasing a target of 216.
Mire opened the batting with PJ Moor as gaffer Heath Streak experimented with the duo at the top of Zimbabwe’s batting order.
Unfortunately, the former Midwest Rhinos all-rounder could only muster two runs before Amir Hamza trapped him leg before wicket in the fourth over.
His earlier figures of 29 runs for no wicket, while bowling, contributed to make his official comeback a bit anti-climactic.
However, all was not lost as skipper Graeme Cremer and presumably the entire technical team, had seen enough to be optimistic of a better showing next time around.
“Solomon (Mire) has been opening in Australia grade cricket, and has done really well in that position,’ said Cremer.
“Unfortunately, he did not really get enough time on the crease for him to start expressing himself and show us what he can really do.
“PJ (Moor), on the other hand, wants to bat there and showed signs that he can really thrive in that position.
“As things stand, you can expect to see these guys opening for the team more and more in the near future,’ he said.
The two sides, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, will this morning return to Harare Sports Club for the second One-Day-International.
The match kicks off at 9:30AM.

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