Why Zimbabwe, Uganda could be birds of a feather in 2015

Opening bowler Tinashe Panyangara banned for sharing on Whatsapp a video of Mitchell Johnson bowling during the Ashes Prosper Utseya banned from bowling off-break by the International Cricket Council (ICC) Stephen Mangongo lampooned for the hiding Bangladesh meted upon Zimbabwe as much as the decision to send Zimbabwe’s top guns on a tour to Uganda. It’s been a tumultuous year for Zimbabwean cricket.
It could have been disfigured all the more had Takashinga’s tour of Uganda yielded an eyesore. And guess what, it did just that even in the face of Uganda’s traditional batting throes. With Takashinga coming with the likes of Panyangara, Utseya, Sikander Raza Butt, Shingirai Masakadza and Regis Chakabva in tow, a discomforting endnote was never going to be an option. Yet a couple of marginal feats (a two-wicket win against an Emerging Uganda side with four balls to spare and 18-run conquest of a strong Uganda Cricket Association select side) was followed by a startling loss. Hours after Takashinga had remarkably fallen 23 runs short of overhauling a target of 100 runs, the axe was dropped on Mangongo.
Mangongo, who is also the Takashinga chairman, was whittled down to an under-19 coach of his native country a little over six months after he took over the coaching reins of Zimbabwe’s senior national cricket team. With under eight weeks left before the World Cup bowls off, Zimbabwe has been thrown into disarray.
Takashinga’s appalling results from their tour of Uganda have left a nauseating taste in the mouths of many Zimbabweans. As far as punching above one’s weight is con-cerned, associate cricket players going toe-to-toe with their Test counterparts takes a beating.
This, though, is not to say that the hosts were covered in glory. Far from it! The power-lessness of Ugandan batsmen to keep the scoreboard ticking once again reared its ugly head. Not for the first time the small details — the partnerships, rotating strike, etc — were not firmly adhered to.
Mangongo, who tipped his hat to the fielding and bowling levels of Ugandan cricketers, couldn’t understand why they are averse to playing with a straight bat. Well, we have been there before, Stephen!
Panyangara tipped his hat to Roger Mukasa, describing the gung-ho opening bat as a “clean striker of the ball”. We’ve been there too, Tinashe! He may transfer his weight admirably while batting, but come January the one-man band that is Roger Mukasa won’t keep Uganda in the ICC Division II World Cricket League if he doesn’t get a support cast. Abram Mutagyaba, Philemon Selowa, Arthur Kyobe and company all have to step and weigh in with knocks of substance on the featherbeds in Namibia. Short of that, like Zimbabwe at next year’s World Cup, Uganda could be the laughing stocks at the ICC Division II World Cricket League.

robertmadoi@gmail.com, @robertmadoi

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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