A one-day international (ODI)  series reaches its conclusion just north of our borders on Tuesday with Zimbabwe attempting to conclude a 4-0 whitewash over the United Arab Emirates. “So what?” we might snigger from the comfort of cricket’s “first world” Well, two things: purity and austerity.     The UAE’s under-19 squad, half a dozen of whom were born there, are currently in camp elsewhere so the senior squad is comprised exclusively of expatriates born in Pakistan or India, most in their mid-30s. They are club cricketers because there is only club cricket in the Emirates. The inaugural first-class competition will begin in September. But they cherish every moment on the international stage. They are on the up. Zimbabwe’s cricketers made the journey to this series in the opposite direction. Nine months ago they crashed to the most unlikely three-run loss to the same team to miss out on World Cup qualification when it had seemed all but guaranteed for the preceding 10 days. It was a...

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