Tag Archives: Neil Johnson

Missing the good old days of Zimbabwe

Andy Flower! Do you remember this name? No cricket lover can ever forget this name. He was one of the most feared batsmen of that era. He was such a good stroke-maker. We have watched modern day batsmen like Maxwell and Eoin Morgan playing reverse sweep but Flower has done it a long ago.

Nowadays, Zimbabwe are not playing Test cricket often but this elegant southpaw had an incredible record in the longer version of the game. He has an average of 51.54 and scored 12 centuries.

Zimbabwe cricket team was at its peak when he represented them. It was the golden era of Zimbabwe. They played cricket with so much of passion and professionalism. They looked a team to beat as they had Alister Campbell, Grand Flower, Stuart Carlisle, Heath Streak and Neil Johnson.

We came to know an opening batsman can bowl an opening over as well when Neil Johnson did that and he did that with great success.

The Story of Zimbabwe cricket is incomplete without Douglas Marrilier. 7 March 2002, Faridabad, Zimbabwe chasing 275 against India. When Marillier walks into bat, his team was struggling at 210/8 in the 45th over. He scored a blistering 56*(24) and snatched a victory for the visiting team from the jaws of defeat. That day he invented ‘Marillier Scoop'(hitting the ball over keeper’s head, something similar to Dilscoop) and later he used the same against the great McGrath and found success.

But after 2005, Zimbabwe cricket had a sudden decline. They started to pick players based on their colour, race, religion etc instead of talent. Senior players were not treated the way they wanted and that led to the retirement of Heath Streak, Douglas Marrilier, Stuart Carlisle, Craig Wishart, Travis Friend. So it left a big void in Zimbabwe cricket and subsequently people like Tatenda Taibu, Dion Ebrahim, MlulekiNkala also ended up retiring from the game before they should have.

Zimbabwe still have a lot of talent but their payment system and selection process need to be refined. Otherwise, Zimbabwe will end up on losing players like Brandan Taylor, Garry Ballance(currently plays for England).