Elton blames senior players

Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura

Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura

Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE cricket team captain Elton Chigumbura says most senior players failed to find their form at key moments as they bowed out in the first round at the ICC Cricket World Cup. The Chevrons — who were aiming a quarter-final berth — played with spirit but fell short in most of their games and crashed out in a disappointing fashion after losing five of their six group matches.

Ironically, the team had shown some promise prior to the tournament with the hype that accompanied the arrival of veteran coach Dav Whatmore who was mandated to help turn around the side’s fortunes.

Zimbabwe even beat one of the dark horses, Sri Lanka, during the warm-up matches and had hosts New Zealand on the ropes, but they could not find the winning formula when the tournament started.

Most of the senior players, save for Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams, did not rise to the occasion.

Chigumbura said they had their game plan in place but form deserted them.

“Our tactic was to go with more batters and that’s why we had at least eight batters in the team in every game that we played,” he told a news conference in Harare yesterday.

“Out of those eight batters there were guys who could bowl as well.

“It’s about form. Sometimes you perform, maybe you don’t and changes will be made. So it’s not about changing the guys who are there, it’s also about looking at the performance.”

The Zimbabwe team arrived home Monday night.

They were in group B, which included defending champions India, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. The Chevrons had targeted at least three wins in their six group matches to vie for a slot in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

They had aimed to score successes over both Associate members UAE and Ireland and then get an upset win over either Pakistan or West Indies to negotiate their way to the Super Eight.

However, the team’s performance was disappointing as they managed only one victory against Associate nation UAE.

They then suffered a close defeat at the hands of another Associate member Ireland who beat them by five runs.

Chigumbura said Zimbabwe were looking to build from the positives.

“Looking at the tour from Bangladesh and the way we played at the World Cup there was a huge improvement, especially with the bat.

“It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t manage to finish well. I know there was a question of death bowling but also towards the end when we were batting we didn’t manage to have good finishes.

“It’s just a matter of playing more games. The more you play the better you understand your game,” said Chigumbura.

The skipper also said the departure of Taylor, who has been one of the most consistent players at the World Cup, was a big blow.

Taylor resigned from international cricket to pursue a career with Nottinghamshire in England.

“Obviously, he is a guy who has been around and has represented us for a long time.

“He has got experience but at the end of the day we have to respect his decision.

“But I think there are other guys who can play the role that he has played like myself, Craig Ervine and Regis Chakabva,” said Chigumbura.