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5 former cricketers that Zimbabwe would like to make a comeback

Alistair Campbell is a former batsman and skipper of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe are all set to host Sri Lanka in a 2-match Test series and an ODI tri-series which will also feature the West Indies. Although the current Zimbabwean team has some talented cricketers who come up with decent performances every now and then, they are nowhere near as good as the generation that preceded them.

The African nation used to be a formidable cricketing force for most of the 1990s and the early 2000s and had some world beaters in their team who excelled against the toughest of opponents. The lowest-ranked team in Tests would really want some of these stars to return so that they can become a threat once again.

Also read: Zimbabwe call up uncapped duo for Sri Lanka series

Here are 5 former cricketers that Zimbabwe would like to make a comeback:

#5 Alistair Campbell

Left-hander Alistair Campbell used to be one of the most consistent batsmen in the Zimbabwean team and he is also one of their best skippers ever. Campbell performed particularly well in ODI cricket as he scored over 5000 runs in the format at a 30-plus average with 7 centuries and 30 fifties.

In the 60 Tests that he played, the southpaw had a tally of nearly 3000 runs at an average of 27.21 with 2 hundreds to his name. Among Campbell’s achievements as captain are a Test victory each over India and Pakistan and Zimbabwe’s phenomenal run in the 1999 World Cup which saw them qualify for the Super Six stage.

Till date, Alistair Campbell is the most successful ODI skipper for his country with 30 wins in 86 matches. Had it been possible for him to make a comeback, it would have solved a lot of issues for the current Zimbabwean team.

#4 Grant Flower

Grant Flower was effective with both bat and ball

The younger of Zimbabwe’s famous Flower brothers, Grant Flower was a resourceful middle-order batsman and a handy left-arm spinner during his playing days. Although he may have spent nearly his entire career in the shadow of his brother Andy, it is hard to deny the fact that he was one of the architects of his team’s success, particularly in the 1990s.

In a Test career that saw him play 67 Tests, Grant had a tally of 3457 runs at an average just under 30 with an unbeaten 201 against Pakistan being his highest score. He was much more successful in ODI cricket with over 6000 runs at an average in excess of 34 including 6 centuries and 40 fifties.

Grant Flower also had more than 100 ODI wickets to his name and his best figures of 4 for 32 came in a victory over Kenya at Dhaka. With all the skill that he possessed, Grant could have been a huge difference-maker in the present Zimbabwe team.

#3 Neil Johnson

Neil Johnson had a short yet successful international career

Neil Johnson is among the best all-round cricketers to have represented Zimbabwe in the international circuit. Although Johnson played just 13 Tests and 48 ODIs in his brief career, he made enough impact to be considered one of the finest to have emerged from the African country.

Johnson had already made his debut in the year 1998 but he went on to make a name for himself courtesy an outstanding performance in the 1999 ICC World Cup. In 9 matches, the southpaw scored 367 runs at a phenomenal average of 52.42 and also claimed 12 wickets to emerge as one of the top all-rounders in the tournament.

Also read: 5 players who Indian fans would love to see making a comeback

In his overall ODI career, Neil Johnson scored 1641 runs and averaged in excess of 36 with 4 centuries. The Harare-born cricketer did not do very well in the longest format but does have a Test century to his credit against Pakistan at Peshawar.

If the current Zimbabwean team had someone like Johnson in their ranks, things might have been better for them.

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(Video courtesy: robelinda 2 YouTube channel)

#2 Heath Streak

Heath Streak spearheaded the Zimbabwe bowling attack for a long time

The new coach of Zimbabwe’s national cricket team, Heath Streak is easily the greatest fast bowler to have emerged from the country. The right-arm medium pacer played 65 Tests and 189 ODIs in his international career and also captained his side in both formats.

Streak’s numbers in Test cricket make for good reading as he bagged 216 wickets at an average of 28.14 with best innings figures of 6 for 73 against India. In the 50-over format, he took 239 wickets and had an average of under 30 with a five-for and 7 four-wicket hauls in his kitty.

Till date, Heath Streak is the most successful Zimbabwean captain in Tests with 4 wins under his belt and they also won 18 ODIs with him in charge. Streak has also represented his home nation in 3 consecutive World Cups from 1996 to 2003.

Although the former cricketer is associated with the national team as a coach, they would certainly want him to join them on the field as part of the playing XI.

#1 Andy Flower

Andy Flower was one of the best batsmen of his era

Andy Flower is undoubtedly the greatest cricketer to have emerged from Zimbabwe in their history of being associated with the game. A left-handed batsman and wicket-keeper by trade, Flower is the highest run-scorer of all-time for his country in both Tests as well as ODIs.

It was at the Test level, though, that the Zimbabwean great showed his true class as he scored nearly 5000 runs at an average of 51.54 with as many as 12 centuries. During his time, he competed with some of the biggest names to have played the game but calmly managed to hold his own.

Flower was particularly severe on the Indian bowlers as he had a monumental average of 94.83 against the sub-continent nation in Tests. He also played 213 ODIs in his career and had a tally of 6786 runs while averaging over 35 with 4 centuries and 55 half-centuries.

The southpaw also captained the Zimbabwe side in 20 Tests and 52 one-day internationals. Considering the current state of the national team, an Andy Flower comeback could have been the best medicine for them.

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(Video courtesy: Cricket Tips and Tutorial - How to’s You Tube channel)

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Edited by Staff Editor
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