Zimbabwe's plight should not be viewed in isolation
As the cricket world gets impatient with Zimbabwe, NZ and India are the last teams who should be moaning about it.india Updated: Aug 26, 2005 16:27 IST
Much as the cricket world gets impatient with Zimbabwe and the deluge of unwanted records eroding the sanctity of the game, New Zealand and India are the last teams who should be moaning about it.
In the last few weeks, Zimbabwe have twice been crushed by an innings in Tests and the start of the one-day series was even a bigger disaster when New Zealand peeled the last cloak of respectability off their chests.
Renewed calls have emerged from cricket's austere quarters who want Zimbabwe to be banned and the introduction of a two-tier system where teams such as Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Kenya and now possibly West Indies could be left to sort out their mess.
But expelling Zimbabwe merely on the grounds of their miserable record over the past year could embarrass the policy-makers if they as much as take a glance at the low phases of a few other countries, including New Zealand and India.
New Zealand have once been bowled out for 26 and it was in the second Test against England at Auckland in 1955.
Only three years ago, they were thrashed by an innings and 324 runs by Pakistan in a Test in Lahore, a questionable feat which Zimbabwe is still to manage.
Zimbabwe have never been dismissed for less than a hundred four times in one series like New Zealanders did in the forgettable year of 1958.
Zimbabwe's two-day Test defeat in Harare in the first Test was the 16th shortest in history in terms of balls bowled. However, New Zealand occupy the seventh spot with their own ignominies in this list.
New Zealand have also been knocked over at Lord's for 42 (1958), 67 (1958), 67 (1978) and 74 (1958), and for less than 100 on no fewer than 21 occasions.
New Zealand were so bad in their fledgling days that it took them 26 years before they tasted Test success, and their most famous player, Bert Sutcliffe, never played in a Test-winning team.
India have suffered lows of their own in their chequered history.
They once made 52 and 82 in two innings in just one day against England in Manchester.
India have suffered two of the 10 worst defeats heaped upon on a team in the history of one-day internationals. They lost to Sri Lanka by 245 runs in Sharjah in 2000-2001 and then were pummeled by Australia for 208 runs in Sydney in 2003-2004.
Incidentally, both the defeats were suffered when India's most successful captain Sourav Ganguly was at the helm.
While New Zealand have once gone without win in a one-day field for 15 successive matches, India's worst is 10 games without a win in the season of 1984-85.
Zimbabwe, in contrast, have suffered only their seventh successive one-day defeat in this season of gloom.
So may be, just may be, it would make sense for teams to pause and look at their own houses of glass before throwing a stone at others'.
First Published: Aug 26, 2005 16:27 IST