The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) has chosen leg-spinner Graeme Cremer to lead the players for the bilateral series against India after the sacking of Hamilton Masakadza. The 29-year-old has been an influential figure in the bowling department and it might just be the right thing for Zimbabwe Cricket to have Cremer gain some experience as a Captain against a top team in the One Day format.
Here are all the things you need to know about the newly appointed Zimbabwe Captain as we built up to the exciting contest.
1. Debut at the age of 18: Graeme Cremer made his debut for Zimbabwe when he was just 18 years old. The selectors were impressed with his bowling variations and recognized him immediately as a star for the future.
His debut came amidst difficult times for the team when experienced players Paul Strang, Andy Whittall, and Ray Price quit the team for strange reasons. His debut series came against Bangladesh in 2005 where he proved that the selectors had made a good decision. He claimed 6 wickets in his first 2 test matches.
2. Variations: It is absolutely necessary for a leg-spinner to have a bunch of variations, especially, in this modern era where the batsmen have developed shots like the ‘reverse hit’ and ‘Dilscoop’. Cremer has excelled in this department, comprising of a terrific googly also known as the ‘wrong one’ mixing it up with the conventional leg-spin.
Many players have struggled to pick his deliveries and more often than not end up exposing their leg before the wicket.
3. Career best Test Figures: Cremer was on fire against the Bangladeshis in the Harare Test in 2013 after Zimbabwe returned to the Test Match arena. Cremer ended the game with career-best figures of 4-4 as Zimbabwe thrashed Bangladesh by a massive margin of 335 runs.
Cremer played a key role in the Bangladesh series and cemented his place in the test side.
4. South African tour: Still new to the International stage, Cremer faced his first challenge when he was picked to face South Africa in 2009. Initially, he was powerless against the might of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, and AB de Villiers but Cremer held his nerves and eventually made all the 3 players the victims to his spin.
5. Break into the limited overs: Considered mainly as a ‘Test Specialist’, Cremer had limited chances since Zimbabwe’s self-imposed exile from Test cricket and it took him a while to enter the ODI format. He broke into the scene 3 years after his test debut when he was picked in the squad to face West Indies.
But he could not make his debut since the Zimbabweans already had Ray Price and Prosper Utseya in the spin department. He made his debut in 2009 against Kenya where he picked up 15 wickets in 5 games and ended up as the leading wicket-taker in the series.
6. Batting abilities: Apart from his impressive spin bowling, Cremer can be quite useful with the bat as well. He scored an unbeaten 171 in a First Class match, in the 2006-07 Logan Cup. Cremer has also managed to keep his first class batting average above 20 and he can certainly occupy the role of a bowling all-rounder.
7. Success in the T20 format: Cremer has been exceptional in the T20 format as well. The last T20 game he was involved in was a domestic match between Mid West Rhinos and Matabeleland Tuskers. Cremer conceded just 8 runs in his 4 overs which included a maiden and a wicket, playing the key role in the victory of the Rhinos
8. Surprise retirement: Over disputes with the Board in 2013, Cremer had announced a shock retirement and stated that he would be focusing on becoming a professional golfer. However, in 2015, Cremer made a surprise return to the team and was even picked for the Pakistan Tour.
9. Return to International Cricket: Since his comeback, Cremer has been a consistent performer with the ball, picking up 21 wickets in 18 matches at an average 34.14 in ODIs and conceding less than 5 runs per over while picking up 24 wickets in 15 matches in the T20s.
10. Fourth Captain in a year: When he leads Zimbabwe out in the first ODI against India, Cremer will be their fourth captain in the 11 months since India's previous tour. Time will tell if Cremer can remain as their captain and bring consistency to the team.Published 10 Jun 2016, 19:36 IST