I’m honoured to welcome one of the most inspirational people I have met to Bay 13.
Dean du Plessis is a native Zimbabwean cricket commentator. He is very good at it. Great insight and deeply knowledgeable.
What makes Dean quite remarkable is that he is blind. However, that hasn’t stopped him one bit.
Here is his debut piece for Bay 13.
It is hard to imagine that matches between the mighty Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe were once regarded as insignificant ‘battle of the basement’ matches.
These taunting words were frequently used in the early nineties, before Sri Lanka surged ahead, thanks to the expertise of one Dav Whatmore, who in a short period of time transformed a group of talented youngsters into a World Cup winning machine.
Suddenly, Sri Lanka were no longer the whipping boys of the once elite, almost snobbish group of nine international cricket playing countries. Names such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Asanka Gurusinha and Chaminda Vaas were added to the likes of Roshan Mahanama, Muttiah Muralitharan, Arjuna Ranatunga, and the great Aravinda de Silva.
Zimbabwe on the other hand, have never really made the progress most people thought they would make.
This is mainly due to several players leaving the country, thanks to countless problems that have plagued the sport since 2004.
But truth be told, Zimbabwe have always been regarded as a there and there abouts team, with the ability of playing very good cricket in short bursts.
Two of these bursts that spring to mind, was the 3-0 whitewash one day series win over England in 1996/97 and the country’s best World Cup performance to date when they progressed to the Super six stage back in 1999, beating India and South Africa in the process.
It was after that particular World Cup that people sat up and took note of the bunch of lawyers, tomato growers, game ranchers and a chicken farmer who were causing quite a stir with their combination of ferocious ground fielding, and plucky determination.
Sadly, Zimbabwe have lost most of those facets that turned them into the much respected team of the late nineties and early 2000s.
After an embarrassing drubbing in Bangladesh, not many people have much faith in the Elton Chigumbura lead team, and it has jokingly been said that the team who represented Zimbabwe in their first appearance in 1983 would do better than the current crop of players.
Zimbabwe’s seven wicket win against Sri Lanka on Wednesday probably means as little as the colors of a rainbow does to a blind man for most cricket lovers around the world.
In fact, a well known and much loved Sri Lankan commentator tweeted that Sri Lanka’s loss shouldn’t be pondered upon to much, and that Sri Lanka should focus on the actual tournament, where they will no doubt have bigger fish to fry than Zimbabwe.
A valid point, but there is absolutely no doubt that the steeliness and professionalism of Dav Whatmore, who many felt was past his sell by date has rubbed of on the struggling Zimbabweans, and that maybe, just maybe- we may be in for a few more upsets when the real deal starts on Saturday.