Victories over Canada and Kenya were something never to smile about following heavy defeats by Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Then under Englishman Allan Butcher, there were little hopes that Zimbabwe would do well.
At the 2007edition in the West Indies, the late Kevin Curran’s men came back home without a win fromPool D after finishing tied with Ireland in their first match, before losing to the hosts and Pakistan by 6 wickets and 93 runs respectively.
Now under World Cup-winning coach Dav Whatmore, Zimbabwe head to Australia and New Zealand for the tournament that runs from Valentine’s Day to March 29.
Three of Whatmore’s men Elton Chigumbura, Brendan Taylor and Prosper Utseya featured in the 2007 and 2011 editions.Although Utseya’s inclusion has been disputed by cricket followers, quarters, expectations are that his experience would count.
Chigumbura will be captain for the second time at the World Cup while Utseya was the 2007 skipper.
From the squad that participated at the 2007 tournament, seven have made it into Whatmore’s side as Sean Williams, Chamu Chibhaha, Stuart Matsikinyeri and Tawanda Mupariwa make a return after missing out four years ago.
Matsikinyeri was also around in 2003 and like Chigumbura, Taylor and Utseya, this would be his third World Cup.
Tinashe Panyangara and Regis Chakabva, who were there in 2011 have made the grade to Australia/New Zealand.With a coach who has won gold before and players who have previously played at that level, it would be an embarrassment for Zimbabwe to spectacularly falter as they did in the tour of Bangladesh late last year.
Their Pool B looks tough though as it includes South Africa, West Indies, India, Pakistan, United ArabEmirates and Ireland.
Former Zimbabwe seamer Gary Brent who was in West Indies eight years ago believes Zimbabwe can stage an upset against more formidable sides.“One change I would make is bringing in the off spin of Tapiwa Mafudza which would be very helpful instead of Tafadzwa Kamungozi,” said Brent.“I have not seen how Prosper is bowling now but I am sure his experience would be very useful.
We just need to have a positive approach in both bowling and with the bat. A right mindset can carry us through to the last eight.
I know our group looks tough with India being a very good side but we can upset them and anyone else before they know what is going on. We beat Australia last year and that shows we can do it.
“We have nothing to lose and we can compete against any side. It is just about getting up a good mental state. I feel sorry for the guys because of politics over the years but we need to move forward. We just need to have consistency.“
I think Dav will bring many positives in the team. Our top batsmen Brendan and Hamilton (Masakadza) can do great things on their day.”Despite being one of the most experienced bastmen, Masakadza would be making his debut at the ICC World Cup.
Elton Chigumbura, Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams, Tinashe Panyangara, Tendai Chatara, Prosper Utseya, Chamu Chibhabha, Sikandar Raza, Sean Ervine, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Tawanda Mupariwa, Regis Chakabva, Solomon Mire.