Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THE absence of senior players in the Zimbabwe national cricket team continued to show yesterday when the Chevrons crashed to a nine-wicket defeat at the hands of a Pakistan team which won without breaking sweat in the second One Day International.
Zimbabwe are missing a number of key players who made themselves unavailable because of a labour dispute with the national association.
The handicap has been brutally exposed by the visitors during the recent T20I Triangular Series which involved Pakistan and Australia.
And the lightweight Zimbabweans have not given a fight in the two matches they have played in the ODI series against Pakistan at Queens in Bulawayo after losing both matches by huge margins.
The Chevrons are missing key players who include Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Graeme Cremer, Malcom Waller and Craig Ervine.
All-rounder Sikandar Raza has also been away in Canada where he was taking part in the Global T20 tournament.
Big hitter Solomon Mire was unfortunate to be ruled out of the ODI series with a muscle injury.
Key pace bowler Kyle Jarvis was also ruled out by injury.
This has forced the ZC selectors to pick a squad that is not largely representative of the Chevrons strength, which makes it imperative for the leadership and the players to expedite ways to find each other.
Zimbabwe finished the T20I Triangular Series without a win from the four games they played against Pakistan and Australia, although they put some spirited performances towards the end of their campaign.
The ODI series is also turning out to be a one-sided affair.
Zimbabwe were trounced by 201 runs in the opening game of the five-match series, with Pakistan dominating all the way.
Zimbabwe were bundled out for 107 runs inside 35 overs after the visitors had piled on 308/ 7.
And yesterday they again struggled to put runs on the board.
The bowlers were also not effective in Zimbabwe’s hopeless attempt to defend their score of 194 runs.
Skipper Hamilton Masakadza admitted yesterday that Zimbabwe needed to pull up socks to make the series competitive.
“Tough day in the office. I got out the wrong time trying to up the game, but the target was never going to be enough. We’re losing wickets at crucial times, and also not rotating the strike enough.
“They’ve played our spinners really well, and with such a score, it was always going to be difficult for our bowlers.
“Hopefully, we can put up a better performance, and make the series competitive,” said Masakadza.