Talent in the commentary box

Posted by brmtaylor.com admin on November 20, 2008

It was good to watch yesterdays game, not because Zimbabwe slumped to a depressing defeat, but because it was a blast from the past as viewers got the chance to listen to some of Zimbabwe's past greats - some of which should be out on the field still.

It is somewhat good to know that, even if they aren't directly involved in the team now, there are still an abundance of skilled people ready to steer Zimbabwean cricket back in the right direction should change occur.

Dean du Plessis: The one member of the commentary team not to have played First Class cricket, he is known around the world because he is a blind commentator. He is a true inspiration - he has learnt to follow the game by sounds alone. I once heard that he corrected another commentator who said Zaheer Khan was running in to bowl, when in fact it was Ashish Nehra - he distinguished between the two because of the sound of their run up. Yesterday Dean du Plessis was just as impressive, he was right on the ball when one Zimbabwean batsmen attempted the sweep shot and missed.

Andy Pycroft: A stalwart of the Zimbabwean commentary team, Pycroft has been commentating for many years now. His finest moment came between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in 2006, when Brendan Taylor famously hit six from the final ball. "Oh my word!" will forever ring through my ears when I think of that day. He is a former Zimbabwe A coach, he knows his cricket, it's a shame he is still not working for Zimbabwe Cricket in some capacity.

Kevin Curran: The former Zimbabwean coach had a stint in the box, but like the other commentators was largely restricted in what he could say. It is believed that he is working at the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy now, but it has not been confirmed.

Alistair Campbell: Of everyone in Zimbabwe cricket, ZC should be counting their lucky stars that Campbell is one of them. He knows the inner workings of Zimbabwean cricket, he has the tactical head on him that Zimbabwe so desperately require in the presence of two puppets - Prosper Utseya and Walter Chawaguta. As we saw in Canada, Campbell is discreetly influencing the team. In a post match interview he hinted that using spin to open the bowling may be a useful tactic to employ. Unsurprisingly, Utseya opened the bowling in the next match. He's one of the few players who can point to a successful record consisting of seven ODI centuries. He's on the commentating team now, but few doubt that he will be a future coach. As we've seen with Robin Brown though, a successful record will mean nothing as long as an experienced starved administration are at the helm, so for Campbell it is important that he takes a backseat and grasps his opportunity at the right time. He's just 36, and he retired 5 years ago, in any other country he would still be playing.

Dirk Viljoen: Viljoen is only 31. He never set the world on fire during his international playing days, but would probably still make the team now if he so desired. In a time when many people are leaving Zimbabwe, it is good to see that Dirk Viljoen is sticking around because there will come a point in the future where people of his calibre - he has 46 matches of First Class experience, including one double century - will be accepted back into Zimbabwe Cricket, probably in the form of an assistant coach.

Darlington Matambanadzo: Darlington never made the national team, but is probably one of the few you could class as a domestic star. In 25 Logan Cup matches he took 34 wickets at just over 34.29, which would put him up there with Ryan Butterworth as one of the top domestic players not to represent his country. He last played in 2006 for his province, and is now 32 years of age.

This is the best group of commentators Zimbabwe has had in many years.

This was the 100th article posted on brmtaylor.com (November 21, 2008)