Zimbabwe Shouldn't Play Tests Now And Focus On ODIs, T20Is Only, Says Ramiz Raja
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Zimbabwe Shouldn’t Play Tests Now And Focus On ODIs, T20Is Only, Says Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports

Ramiz Raja said it was a mismatch between minnows Zimbabwe and Pakistan in the 2-Test series and such matches are not going to positively impact the image of the longest format of the game.

Former Pakistan cricket Ramiz Raja has said Zimbabwe, at the moment, should not play Test cricket and focus on white-ball commitments instead, saying one-sided matches involving Zimbabwe don’t help viewership of Tests.

Ramiz Raja lamented the lack of fight from Zimbabwe during their loss to Pakistan (Reuters Photo)
Ramiz Raja lamented the lack of fight from Zimbabwe during their loss to Pakistan (Reuters Photo)

Ramiz Raja: Zimbabwe Didn’t Learn Anything From Pakistan Test Series

Ramiz Raja said Zimbabwe didn’t learn anything from their Test series against Pakistan at home after being hammered 2-0 with innings defeat in both matches played in Harare. Ramiz Raja said “such mismatch series” will only impact the already dwindling viewership for Test cricket and force people to switch from cricket to other sports.

Pakistan, on Monday, completed the series win after sealing the 2nd Test by an innings and 147 runs. Babar Azam’s men had beaten Zimbabwe in the first Test by an innings and 116 runs. Earlier in the tour, Zimbabwe had lost the T20I series 2-1 to the touring Pakistan side.

“Such mismatch series should not take place. Test cricket is already under pressure and very few people watch it. If you show them such one-sided matches, then they will switch to watching football or other sports. 3-day Test match is a joke,” Ramiz Raja said while speaking for his YouTube channel.

“Some people are of the opinion that when a weak team plays a strong one, you need to focus on what you learn from it rather than the outcome of the match. You learn from the stronger team’s process and the way it adapts to the changing situation of a game. But I don’t think Zimbabwe learned anything from this series because they were continuously dominated by Pakistan.”

Pakistan batsman Abid Ali celebrates after scoring 200 runs during the second test cricket match against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe on Saturday.
Pakistan batsman Abid Ali celebrates after scoring 200 runs during the second test cricket match against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe on Saturday. AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

“Also, there was no difference in their performance in the second Test as compared to the first one,” he added.

It took exactly five overs on the fourth day for Pakistan to take the solitary wicket they needed to complete a 2-0 clean sweep over Zimbabwe, bowling them out for 231 and winning by an innings and 147 runs. Despite the bowling heroics, it was Abid Ali who scooped up the Player of the Match award for his first double-century.

In the 1st Test, Hasan Ali wrapped up Zimbabwe’s lower order inside half an hour after tea on the third day for a dominant inning win for Pakistan. The last four wickets fell for just 10 runs, with MOM Hasan Ali taking all of them to complete a five-wicket haul and take his match tally to nine. It’s the first time in nearly three years Pakistan won an away Test.

Ramiz Raja Fewels Sad To See Zimbabwe’s Current State Since They Had A Competitive Team In The 1992 World Cup

Ramiz Raja added that Zimbabwe cricket has deteriorated over the last few decades and the dip in quality is visible in the way the senior national team has played. Zimbabwe, ranked No. 10 in ICC Test Rankings, has played against the top 10 sides only 5 times since 2016.

“It’s sad to see Zimbabwe’s current state because they were a very competitive team back in the day. Their team in the 1992 World Cup had three or four world-class players who could take the game away from you if proper planning was not done,” Ramiz Raja said.

“There has been a gradual deterioration in their system and structure along with corruption in cricket board. This performance is a reflection of this deterioration over the past 15-20 years. I hope they do well in the future but for now, they should not play Test cricket and concentrate only on white-ball cricket,” he added.

Zimbabwe is currently ranked 10th in Tests, 13th in ODIs, and 12th in T20Is by the ICC. After getting their Test status in 1992, Zimbabwe cricket enjoyed their golden era between 1997 and 2002 when players like Heath Streak, the Flower brothers- Andy and Grant, and Henry Olonga rose to stardom as Zimbabwe defeated all Test-playing nations except Australia. The team finished fifth in the 1999 World Cup.

But, in the next 2003 World Cup, in protest against the government, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga played wearing black armbands and didn’t play again. In 2004, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union sacked their captain Heath Streak after he had confronted them with the team’s grievances.

Zimbabwe's Heath Streak ©Reuters
Zimbabwe’s Heath Streak ©Reuters

Fifteen first-team players went on strike which resulted in their dismissal from Zimbabwe Cricket. By 2005, the Zimbabwe team had a completely new look with a young 22-year-old Tatenda Taibu taking over the captain’s mantle.

In 2006, Robert Mugabe’s government replaced the board of Zimbabwe Cricket with an interim committee that announced a further 12-month withdrawal from Test cricket. Zimbabwe did not play any Test match between 2006 and 2010. However, since returning to Test cricket in 2011, they have played only 27 Test matches winning only four of them during the last decade.

2nd Test: Pakistan 510 for 8 declared (Abid 215*, Azhar 126, Nauman 97, Muzarabani 3-82) beat Zimbabwe 132 (Chakabva 33, Hasan 5-27) and 231 (Chakabva 80, Shaheen 5-52, Nauman 5-86) by an innings and 147 runs

1st Test: Pakistan 426 (Fawad 140, Butt 91, Abid 60, Muzarabani 4-73) beat Zimbabwe 176 (Kaia 48, Afridi 4-43, Hasan 4-53) and 134 (Musakanda 43, Hasan 5-36) by an innings and 116 runs