Zimbabwe should utilise spin bowling attack against Windies
PATRICK GADA IN LONDON
WEST Indies have brought quite a strong Test squad to Zimbabwe, even though the same team was convincingly beaten Down Under by Australia late last year.
Their main weapon will be bowling. Kemar Roach is a great fast bowler, one of the best to come out of the Caribbean in modern times.
Alzarri Joseph has also been bowling pretty fast and with improved accuracy.
The towering bowling all-rounder Jason Holder is ever-consistent and accurate.
The recalled fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, if he stays fit, could pose great challenges for Zimbabwe even in those Bulawayo conditions, where Queens Sports Club is known for its slow surface.
Pacer Raymond Reifer is a decent all-rounder, but still far from being world-class in any format.
As for their spinners – the likes of Jomel Warrican, Roston Chase and Gudakesh Motie – they are still learning the art of spin-bowling and Zimbabwe should look to capitalise against them.
West Indies have been struggling big time lately and Zimbabwe – whilst they have been enjoying a revival of sorts in the shorter formats – they have not played Test cricket in 18 months.
So this is a battle of two teams with their backs against the wall, with a lot to prove. It should be a good contest to watch.
West Indies do have some pride to restore after a ruthless Australia bowling attack ran through a beleaguered batting line-up.
The men from the Caribbean had a few positives in Australia and their one shining light was the impressive Test start for opener Tagnarine Chanderpaul, son of the legendary batter Shivnarine Chanderpaul. The newcomer defied Australia’s attack with 160 runs at an average of 40.00.
West Indies need to do plenty of soul-searching in their cricket, which has been rocked by administration problems, with several of their best players not available for international matches. This also led to their dismal performance at the 2022 T20 World Cup, leading to the resignation of the great coach Phil Simmons.
Zimbabwe may need to utilise their spin bowling against the West Indies. Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon had success against them and most of their batters have struggled to play against spin bowling across all formats.
*Patrick Gada, who contributes to The NewsHawks, is a Zimbabwean former first-class cricketer who lives and works in England.