"title": "WCup qualification can lift all Zim - Cremer",
    "image": "https:\/\/images.supersport.com\/2018\/2\/Graeme-Cremer-celebrates-wkt-C-170709-G300.jpg",
    "body": "<p>\r\nZimbabwe has been rocked by political instability and a prolonged economic slump, but a successful cricket World Cup qualification campaign has the potential to lift the entire nation, according to captain Graeme Cremer.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"Our country has gone through some tough times,\" the legspinner told Reuters in an interview at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"It'll lift the whole country if we're able to qualify.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nZimbabwe have participated in every World Cup since 1983, but in their bid to play at a 10th successive edition they face some stiff competition.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe southern African nation will stage a World Cup Qualifier (WCQ) tournament next month and the hosts will be joined by West Indies, Afghanistan, Ireland and six lower-ranked teams, with only the top two progressing to next year's main event.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"If we don't (play in the World Cup), it will be a huge setback for us,\" Cremer said of the 10-team tournament being held in England and Wales.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"Qualifying will make teams want to play us. If you don't qualify, you sort of fall down the pecking order. So we know if we qualify we'll get a lot more cricket after that, which is what we've been hoping for.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe 31-year-old described home support and knowledge of local conditions as key advantages his 10th-ranked side will possess in the qualifiers, but he is under no illusions about the challenges they face.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"Our batting is a bit of a concern at this stage. Our middle order... all the ability is there and the talent is there, but (they are) just not firing consistently enough.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"I (also) feel a little bit of inexperience in the bowling, especially with the seamers,\" he added, noting the importance of Brian Vitori and Kyle Jarvis in leading the pace attack.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nCremer, who last month celebrated his 100th one-day international wicket, believes his own role in the team has evolved since he scored his first international century in 2016.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"I like to value myself as an allrounder, not just a bowler,\" he added. \"Those 20, 30 runs can be the difference between winning and losing, so I enjoy my batting. I work quite hard at it.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n<strong>UNLIKELY RISE<\/strong><\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nCremer's path to the captaincy across all three formats was unorthodox.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThrust into the team as a teenager in 2005 following a mass walkout by 15 senior white players over selection policy, his opportunities became limited after Zimbabwe withdrew from test cricket a year later in the wake of crushing defeats.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"Back then, we sort of felt like... 'you probably didn't belong' and we got bullied by teams because we were really young,\" he said.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nAfter cementing his spot in the one-day side after a 15-wicket debut series against Kenya in 2009, Cremer had mixed fortunes when his team resumed playing tests in 2011 and he walked away from the sport two years later.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"I stopped enjoying it. I always loved being on the field and playing, that didn't change. It was more everything around cricket, the training and that sort of stuff,\" he said.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"I'd come out of a few knee operations so that started to take its toll and I felt I needed a break from the game. I didn't actually put a time limit on how long it was going to be.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nCremer credits the arrival of then-coach Dav Whatmore as one factor in his 2015 comeback but admits it was former Zimbabwe captain Alistair Campbell who convinced him to return.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"He made me realise I'm still young enough, and still (had) the ability to do well... I'm glad it worked out like that.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nWhen opener Hamilton Masakadza was relieved of the captaincy in 2016, Cremer inherited the role.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"You become a lot less selfish,\" he said of the promotion.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"You don't put yourself under as much pressure, you don't overthink your game because you're thinking about the rest of the team. So it's been good for me.\"<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nIn terms of developing his craft, Cremer seeks the counsel of former Zimbabwe spin-twin Ray Price.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\"He's always around the cricketing circuit so I get to spend a lot of time with him... He'll often message me when I'm on tour and give me a few pointers,\" Cremer added.<\/p>",
    "blurb": "A successful cricket World Cup qualification campaign has the potential to lift the entire nation (Zimbabwe), according to captain Graeme Cremer.",
    "date": "2018-02-09T12:53:51",
    "author": "",
    "credit": "Reuters",
    "img_credit": "Graeme Cremer \u00a9 Getty Images",
    "category": "More Cricket",
    "videos": []