Retired Zimbabwe national cricket team players and those still in the game had a nasty social media fight over the team’s defeat to Afghanistan in a five-match one-day international series that ended at Harare Sports Club on Sunday. BY Kevin Mapasure

Former captain Brendan Taylor, who is now playing in England leapt to the current national team’s defence in the face of criticism from another former skipper Stuart Carlisle and former batsman Mark Vermeulen.

Zimbabwe were bowled out for 54 in their pursuit of a revised target of 161 after application of the Duckworth and Lewis method, which came into play following rain interruption for Afghanistan to complete a 3-2 win on Sunday.

The defeat got the cricket community expressing disappointment at the way the team folded in just 14 overs.

Zimbabwe had recovered from 2-0 down to level the series going into the last match and had aroused optimism among its fans.

Carlisle took to social media platform Facebook, to express his disappointment.

“I see we’ve lost another ODI series to the Afghans, yet another new low for Zim cricket, very sad,” he lamented.

On Tuesday, Taylor, one of the best batsmen to emerge from Zimbabwe, responded by posting Carlisle’s playing statistics and accompanied that with a comment questioning ex-players who criticise those that will still be in the game.

“These stats should back up his statement,” the post read.

“Ex-players and commentators always sit back and chip away because it’s easy watching from the comfort of their homes or from a commentary box, but forget how tough it can be in the middle.”

Current national team captain Graeme Cremer responded to Taylor’s post. “Real world beater that … Will show our batters the benchmark,” he wrote as he mocked Carslise’s stats.”

Solomon Mire who played all the five ODIs against Afghanistan also weighed in saying: “Could have fooled me.”

Carlisle played 37 Tests for Zimbabwe, where he scored a total of 1 615 runs at an average of 26,91, while he represented the country in 111 ODIs, where he made 2 740 runs with an average of 27,67.

Taylor on the other hand played 23 Tests, where he scored 1 493 runs retaining an average of just over 34. His ODI average is 34,82, having scored 5258 runs from 167 matches.

Sikandar Raza was apparently also not happy that critics like Carslisle were only looking at the negative side.

“Where were these guys when the boys took five wickets for five runs? Where were they when the boys came from 2-0 down to make it 2-2.”

Vermeulen, who has had his fair share of controversy, from burning down the pavilion at the Country Club to threatening umpires with violence, as well as racial remarks on fellow players, weighed in with his thoughts which sparked the exchange with Taylor.

“Ver disappointed off you BT (Brendan Taylor) … I can’t believe you are supporting a pathetic effort by our national team … 54 all out against a team that doesn’t even have any bowlers in the top of the rankings, if I was in the team that was bowled out for 54 I would be totally embarrassed and would shut the f*** up and get in the nets instead of posting f****** s*** like this,” Vermeulen ranted.

Taylor then responded: “Here we go! Coming from someone who is chemically imbalanced. I’m sure the guys are first to admit this was a poor performance. I never support mediocrity Rex. But its s*** from you and Torch who majority of the time sit back and criticise the players, ZC (Zimbabwe Cricket) and the country as a whole. Take a good look in the mirror on what you have done for yourself and your country, apart from bringing down the few establishments we had along with the poor development players that lost everything in their bags that day. Didn’t hear any apologies from you have we Rex? You, my friend are what a true embarrassment looks like.”

Sheldon Steyn, a Zimbabwean professional golfer based in South Africa, argued that Vermeulen, as a sportsman ought to understand what goes on in the game.

“As a professional sportsman, you Mark should know better how tough it can be out there, show a little more support otherwise you should get the pads and see if you can do better. With nine okes in the current ODI squad with better averages than you. You might find it tough to crack the nod”

Vermeulen then put in an angry post, apparently riled by what Taylor had written about him.

“They all got what they deserved BT and let me catch you one day … we’ll settle this … be careful what you say about me you little f***,” he wrote before he turned to Steyn.

“Haha Sheldon you dumb c*** if the current team played against the teams and bowlers who I faced they wouldn’t average double figures but yah please don’t waste my time with your stupid f****** comments.”

Taylor struggled to contain his anger and posted about Vermeulen, “Well done Rexy! You simple prick! How you not in jail God only knows. All the best surfing in Plett making R5 a day. I wish you all the best.”

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