.by Anura Guruge
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I have been watching cricket again, more or less daily, for 40 to 90 minutes a day, since February 2011 — first on DISH with their ‘Cricket Pack‘ and since June with the SkyBox TV ‘TEN Cricket‘ option.
During ‘all’ that time, until last week, I had never bothered to watch Zimbabwe or Bangladesh! Since I rarely, if ever, watch live broadcasts of cricket, I can pick and choose what matches I am going to watch. Yes, I am when it comes to cricket a traditionalists and SNOB. I didn’t expect to see cricket worthy of MY time from Zimbabwe and definitely not from Bangladesh — so I just overlooked matches involving them.
Starting last week on TEN there has been a surfeit of Zimbabwe cricket given that Pakistan is on tour. I do like watching the Pakis. They have some outstanding players that I am very fond of: Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Nasir Jamshed (when he is playing well), 9′ 6″ Mohammad Ifran, Saeed Ajmal, the entire ‘Akmal’ clan etc. So, I decided to watch the ODIs mainly to see the Pakis. But, I was in for a surprise. Zimbabwe has some ‘interesting’ (if not outright ‘decent’) players. They have amused me. That they can’t catch to save their lives cracks me up. Yes, I have seen a few outstanding catches, but they drop about 16 for every one they manage to hold onto. Something else that amuses me no end: such a huge, palpable difference in attitude and competence between the white and black players. It is a riot. But, it is all fun.
I have already become a fan of Masakadza and Sibanda. They really can bat — and they look like West Indians when they are in full flow. Echoing the West Indies all the quickies in the Zimbabwe team are black — and most of them are pretty good. So, I have been having a ball watching them. Their dropped catches and relatively below-par fielding reminds me how bad I used to be. So I can empathize. But, I definitely endorse watching these ex-Rhodesians. Maybe one of these days I will sneak in a Bangladesh game.
P.S., These Zimbabweans have LOVELY, catchy names: Tinashe Panyangara, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya, Timycen Maruma etc. etc.