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Zim cricketers’ predicament

DESPITE hogging the international limelight with some captivating performances, Zimbabwean cricketers continue to be excluded from the richest T-20 leagues sprouting all over the world offering life-changing fortunes.

While players from other nations are globe-trotting from one rich league to another, Zimbabwean athletes are often ignored despite their performances demanding that they get the recognition.

The South Africa T20 League, whose auction was held on Monday, was the latest to snub the Zimbabwean cricketers despite them shining against some of the world’s super powers.

Ryan Burl, who claimed international headlines with his staggering figures of 5 for 10 from just three overs against Australia in that country recently, was teased by the South African T20 after he was included in the auction, only to be ignored.

He scored a brilliant half century in the third T20 against Bangladesh which won Zimbabwe the series after hitting 54 runs off 24 balls where in one over he milked five maximums and one boundary.

Sean Williams, who also has a good international reputation, was also left out together with seam bowler Brad Evans.

The three are the only Zimbabweans that had been included in the draft of the competition, which is richer than the other leagues bar the Indian Premier League.

Williams, Burl and surprisingly Evans were among the 318 players who were part of the draft for the first SA20 tournament set to take place in January-February of next year.

The six teams, all owned by Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise owners namely MI Cape Town, Joburg Super Kings, Paarl Royals, Durban’s Super Giants, Pretoria Capitals and Sunrisers Eastern Cape, are set to battle for the inaugural title.

All-rounder Williams was the most expensive Zimbabwean in the SA20 draft with a base value of R425 000 while Burl and new kid on the block Evans were both valued at R175 000 at the auction.

The draft nomination is a massive step for the 25-year-old fast bowler Evans, who has made an instant impact on the international stage since making his T20 International debut for Zimbabwe against Namibia barely three months ago.

It was expected that the Zimbabwean cricketers would have a shot with Durban’s Super Giants coached by Lance Klusener, who is also the Chevrons’ batting coach.

Two top Zimbabwean stars, all-rounder Sikandar Raza and fast-bowler Blessing Muzarabani, did not make the SA20 draft after they were snapped up by the Dubai Capitals for the inaugural International League T20 to be staged in the United Arab Emirates early next year.

The event will be staged at the same time as the SA20 tournament.

Some of the notable names that went unsold in the SA Auction on Monday include South Africa cricket’s white ball captain Temba Bavuma, who has played 100 matches for the country in the format and has scored 2 289 runs including one century and eight 50s.

Raza, who has played in a number of T-20 Leagues including the Pakistan Super League, Bangladesh Premier League as well as West Indies’ own version, could have had a shot had he not been contracted in Dubai.

He scored three centuries in the ODI series against Bangladesh and India which won him the International Cricket Council Player of the Month.

Muzarabani has played at a couple of the Pakistan Super League editions but could only make it as a net bowler at the IPL despite the rave reviews.

The IPL has had 14 editions since its inception, but only three Zimbabweans, Raymond Price, Tatenda Taibu and Brendan Taylor have played at the lucrative showpiece.

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