Zim out to make amends
ZIMBABWE lost the first cricket Test against West by 117 runs inside four days, something they would want to avoid when the two teams meet in the second five-day contest at Queens Sports Club which gets underway today.
A poor first innings, which saw Zimbabwe being bowled out for 159 cost them dearly. This was after the Zimbabwean bowlers had cleaned up West Indies for 219 in their first innings on a terrific opening day when the home team did everything right. In the end, Zimbabwe were set a massive 434 runs to win the Test and they fell 117 runs short.
Yesterday, national team coach, Heath Streak said the players had been given some days off with the team having returned to fine tuning last Friday. His thoughts were that there is not much they can do besides ensuring that they stick with what worked in the first Test.
“Even though the Test only went for four days, we gave our quick bowlers a couple of days off. We have gone through the stuff that we felt was effective and worked for us during the first Test. There is not really much we can change in terms of our skills its just making sure that tactically we know exactly what we want to do and what we want to execute,’’ Streak said.
On possible changes to the team, Streak’s emphasis was that if there any, they would be done willingly as the idea is to maintain the same side.
“We are unlikely to make unforced changes, we got a couple of niggles that we just managing, we will have a final check tomorrow on one or two guys but we trying not to change the team too much, that’s what we have done consistently over the last year, is to try to give guys a fair crack,’’ said Streak.
National team captain, Graeme Cremer highlighted the importance of having a good first innings and scoring at least 600 runs in the entire match to stand chance of winning a Test.
“That first innings with the bat is so crucial in Test cricket, if you don’t do so well in the first innings with the bat you always chasing the game so we hoping to rectify that. We have planned a lot on the bowling side so it not probably changing too much. In order to win a Test match you need to score 600 runs with your two innings so we will hopefully do that,’’ Cremer said.
The second Test comes amid confirmation by Zimbabwe Cricket that their staff, including players will only get part of their salaries for October. Cremer said the development has no effect on how the players will perform against West Indies as they have met with ZC managing director, Faisal Hasnain who has given them assurances that they will get what is due to them.
“It doesn’t worry us, we have had a chat with the MD, we know the position ZC is in, it won’t affect the performance of the team. It’s not like guys won’t get their money, it’s just one of those things, it’s a tough environment sometimes, we know with Faisal we will get through,’’ Cremer said.
The Bulawayo crowd was outstanding during the first Test and was even louder when local hero, Christopher Mpofu went out to bat. Streak yesterday made a plea to the fans to give support to all players as they would certainly lift the batsmen.
“My request would be that the Bulawayo crowd give the same support they are giving Bobby to all the players, it would be good for us, it will lift the batters to have the support, they are outstanding when Bobby comes out so if they could do that for the whole day it would be brilliant,’’ said Streak.