On the eve of the first test match of their tour of Zimbabwe, West Indies eye revitalized Zimbabwe who celebrates the return of one of their stellar batsman, Brandon Taylor.
Taylor, who scored nearly 2000 runs for Nottinghamshire, during his international absence, including six centuries and a recent resounding century for Mid West Rhinos, will no doubt be welcomed in the middle order.
West Indies on the other hand, will be depending on their middle order batsman Shai Hope who scored 375 runs in six innings in England, at an average of 75.00 to continue with that run of form. Hope also scored a one-day century on this ground during West Indies’ last tour of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s pitch is forecast to be a bit slow, so the spinners will play a major part for both teams. However, the pace of Jerome Taylor and Shannon Gabriel for the West Indies and Kyle Jarvis for Zimbabwe, should be able to get some rewards even on a slow pitch.
West Indies should feel encouraged that Shai Hope, Kyle Hope, Roston Chase, Kieran Powell, and Kraigg Brathwaite all passed fifty in the recent warm up matches. Zimbabwe probably isn’t at all bothered by that, since Hamilton Masakadza, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza are all fairly recent Test centurions.
Both coaches shared their perspectives on the upcoming game.
“We know what the Queens Sports Club wicket does. We’re trying to make the wicket suit our strengths and that’s part and parcel of playing at home. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”
Coach Heath Streak sees conditions that could favour Zimbabwe’s strengths
“If you look at the squad Zimbabwe have picked, they’ve got six players who can bowl spin. The wicket here is traditionally very good for batting and spins more and more as the game goes on. Having said that, we’ve also got two or three guys who can crank it up to over 90mph and at that pace it doesn’t really matter where you’re playing, it’s hard to bat against.”
West Indies coach Stuart Law reckons pace could play a role no matter the quality of the pitch
This will no doubt be an important series for both teams, as their recent run in form could be improved.
Zimbabwe: LLLLL (most recent first)
West Indies: LWLLW
Zimbabwe (possible): 1 Solomon Mire, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Craig Ervine, 4 Brendan Taylor, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Sikandar Raza, 7 Regis Chakabva (wk), 8 Graeme Cremer (capt), 9 Tendai Chisoro, 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Chris Mpofu.
West Indies (possible): 1 Kraigg Brathwaite, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Kyle Hope, 4 Shai Hope, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Jermaine Blackwood, 7 Shane Dowrich (wk), 8 Jason Holder (capt), 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Shannon Gabriel.
Photo Credit: Cricket 365