The Zimbabwean team was regarded to be a hub of emerging Cricketing talents in the late nineties and early 2000s. Zimbabwe therefore, earned a position with the heavy weights of the game in World Cricket a decade ago. But due to the interference of the board and some stinky politics in association, in addition to some racial conflicts within the team , the name of Zimbabwe as a competitive cricketing nation simply faded away and they became the minnows of the game.
Going back in Cricketing history, we find how Zimbabwe emerged to be one of the feared cricketing sides in the late nineties when they whitewashed England 3-0 in 1997. This win was followed by a great score in the 1999 World Cup, where Zimbabwe defeated some strong cricketing sides, for example, India. But after that, the Cricketing aspects of the nation had a downfall due to several reasons.
In the year 2003 some of the senior players of the Zimbabwean Cricket including Andy Flower and Heath Streak went onto a protest as they were not paid. This protest was followed by the resignation of a bunch of senior players. The year 2004 saw the downfall of Zimbabwe’s cricket team. Factors such as racism and politics took its toll on Zimbabwean Cricket and the team could do nothing.
Former Zimbabwean captain, Tatenda Taibu said that it was frightening to be a part of an inexperienced team as all the seniors had resigned from the squad. Also, he was reluctant to lead such an inexperienced squad. And to make matters worse the new look, Zimbabwean team was whitewashed by Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia in consecutive series. It was during this period that Zimbabwe registered their lowest total in ODIs of 35 runs against Sri Lanka. This holds the record to be the lowest ever ODI total till date. Taibu says, situations when Zimbabwe would be two down for 10 and he had to come in at such pressurising situations still haunts him. And he had to bat well consistently. On occasions, when even he failed Zimbabwe saw nothing but huge defeats. Zimbabwe had to give up their test stature in November, 2005 after their string of disastrous performances.
However, now the conditions are beginning to improve since the past few years. After the settlement of several issues, Zimbabwe regained their test stature in 2011 and they even went on to beat Bangladesh in the first test since their revival as a test playing nation to make a roaring comeback. Things have been going right for them since then. They marched as table toppers in the associate nations tournament to qualify for the ICC World Cup, 2015. They even showed a brilliant display of Cricket during the tournament with several brilliant knocks played by their former skipper, Brendan Taylor.
Things have been on the rise and just after their recent tour to Pakistan, in the beginning of the year and their tours against the higher ranked cricketing nations is sure to bring the required catalyst for their revival as a brilliant cricketing nation. They have managed to give Pakistan and India a good amount of competition in the recent series. They fought well in every game and this will provide valuable experiences to all the players and for once in every game they were looking to run away with the match.Now, the Zimbabwean team needs to carry on from here. Something absolutely amazing can definitely be expected from their young side for sure in the years to come, for the betterment of Cricket as a whole.