HARARE – Zimbabwe has not only lost heavily to England on Saturday at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup, but they have left their sportsmanship being questioned after the manner in which the African side dismissed one of the English’s top batsman.

England’s number four batsman Hamza Shaikh was given out after he picked up a ball and threw it casually to Ryan Kamwemba, instead of the Zimbabwean wicketkeeper gathering the ball himself.

Kamwemba then appealed for Shaikh to be out obstructing the field in the Super Six match in Potchefstroom, and the batsman was given out.

England, who were defending 237, eventually won by 146 runs after Zimbabwe were bowled out for 91 runs. England’s win seemed to rub salt into the wounds of the defeated Zimbabweans, who were later heavily condemned on social media for not reversing their appeal against 17-year-old Shaikh.

Others accused Zimbabwe of “cheating”, even though most accepted that the appeal was within the laws of the game.

“Spirit of the game should have prevailed,” wrote Siyabulela Makubalo on SA Cricket magazine’s X account.

In agreeing with Makubalo, Alistair Main was even more damning.  

“That is shameful from Zimbabwe,” he wrote. “If the ball was moving, it would be justified – but that is a new level of low.”

Main heightened his condemnation when another user, Tumisang Mamabolo, tried to defend the law.

“The ball had stopped moving so there was no chance he was obstructing a possibility of a wicket,” Main said. “By common sense, that should have been not out!”

The umpires confer after Zimbabwe’s controversial appeal PIC: Getty Images/Michael Steele

Stiaan Gunter chosen to slam the rules, but taking the batter’s side: “This is the most stupid rule in cricket and common sense must be used in this situation. If I am a batter and I block the ball and the lies dead still in front of me. What is wrong with me picking the ball up????? It’s a different story if the ball is hit into the ground on the way to the stumps and I knock it away with my hand….”

Wellie Mangena responded to Gunter: “Rules are rules…”

Flippie Hattingh wasn’t pulling punches in his criticism of Zimbabwe: “This is the only way Zim can take wickets…”

Back home in Zimbabwe, the local team received some sympathy for their grasp of the laws of the game.

Even though, there was exchange of disgruntlement amongst frustrated fans as standards of the game in the Southern African country continue to fall at a rapid pace.

“Even when we ‘cheat’ we still lose!” commented one Tembo on a Zimbabwean fans forum. It drew a retort from Alan: “There was no cheating there mate. The laws of the game were applied. Why should there be selective application of the laws?”


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