HARARE – Pat Buckle, an Olympic Games gold medalist and mother of star Zimbabwe cricketer Sean Williams, has leapt to the defence of her son in the wake of criticism of some players after Sunday’s shock defeat to Uganda left the Chevrons in danger of not qualifying for the T20 World Cup next year.

Zimbabwe plunged deeper into crisis after lowly Uganda swept to a five-wicket win in Windhoek, leaving the state of the game in the International Cricket Council (ICC) full member nation under the spotlight once again.

As debated raged, a regular contributor on a Zimbabwean cricket social media forum opined that “old guns” like Williams, Craig Ervine, Tendai Chatara and Innocent Kaia were “useless” and must therefore be dropped for good.

The remark drew a sharp retort from Buckle, who was a member of the Zimbabwe women’s field hockey team that famously won the gold medal at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

“What a joke…Williams scored over 600 runs in the last series and you call him useless…it will be a sad day when he retires,” Buckle reacted to the criticism of her 37-year-old son, who has scored a golden duck, 36 and 21 so far in the current qualifiers.

Williams was in scintillating form in the qualifiers of the 50-over World Cup when Zimbabwe hosted the event in July. Despite Zimbabwe’s failure to qualify, he totalled 600 runs in the tournament, forming the basis of his mother’s support of him.

The 67-year-old grandmother, a big fan of the Zimbabwe cricket team, however found fault in new Zimbabwe T20 skipper Sikandar Raza, commenting: “Bad bowling choices from the captain (in the Uganda defeat).”

Buckle was the women’s hockey joint top-scorer at the Moscow Olympics 43 years ago, tied on six goals with the Soviet Union’s Natella Krasnikova.

The young Zimbabwean side, invited to Moscow on the last minute after a United States-led boycott of the games, earned the nickname Golden Girls following it’s remarkable feat in the then Soviet Union.

An all-round sportsperson herself like her three sons, Bulawayo-born Buckle also played basketball for her home province Matabeleland in her younger days then represented Zimbabwe in golf in later years.


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