Interview with Heath Streak
John Ward (JW): Heath, first of all how did Zimbabwe prepare for this series against New Zealand?
Heath Streak(HS): It was a combination of the training camp we had here in Bulawayo, and some of the guys were able to play for the Board XI or the Zimbabwe XI in the two threeday warm-up games. We've come off a five-and-a-half-month tour of West Indies and the U.K., which was quite arduous so I think some of the guys needed a break. There were others who hadn't had much match practice, so some were a bit lacking in that area.
JW: Would you give us some more detail about the training camp, please?
HS: We had one before the South African triangular series last year in January, and that proved to be a success. We used it as a team bonding exercise and we ended up with some really good performances. The authorities here in Bulawayo put on some nets for us, which have been outstanding, so it's been good to come here and have quality practice, and also to bond together and work out our game plan and have some skills training.
JW: And what part has Kevin Curran as coach played in this?
HS: Obviously he hasn't had a lot of time, but he's been very positive. He's had a lot of experience, both at national level and for his county, so it's been great. It's good to have new thoughts and ideas, and I hope we'll be able to work well together. Hopefully we'll be able to have him with us for a long time in the future.
JW: How did you personally prepare for this your first experience of international captaincy?
HS: There have been difficulties, and it came as a bit of a surprise to me, but I've given it a lot of thought. We've a lot of guys who've been playing together for quite a long time so it's easy to know the guys, how they play, what they do, so it hasn't been too hard a task. Obviously going on to the field and managing that side of it is going to be quite difficult so I have to find a balance between that and doing my own job as a strike bowler for the team.
JW: How is your personal fitness at the moment?
HS: Not too bad at the moment. We've had a good break but not a lot of match practice coming into this tour. It's been good to have that break and a lot of guys needed it. Our international programme seems to be quite packed at the moment so there's not a lot of time for a rest.
JW: When you won the toss this morning, what made you decide to bat?
HS: The wicket looked a good batting strip, as it always does here. Obviously the cloudy conditions overhead were a little concerning, but the forecast was that it would break up, so we thought that if we got through that first session without losing wickets we could consolidate and get a big score. Obviously we batted a bit slowly today, but we're happy to be in quite a strong position, and hopefully we can consolidate tomorrow and get a big first-innings score.
JW: Did you or Kevin Curran give any particular instructions to the batsmen?
HS: No, we discussed during the last week how they all want to play. The New Zealand bowlers bowled with a lot of discipline and bowled to their field, so it wasn't easy to score out there. The spinners bowled well and I think they got a little bit of turn there as well; a couple of balls bounced as well, so I'm pretty happy with it. Obviously we would have liked to be another 30 or 40 runs on from what we are now, but hopefully one of the guys can push on and get a big score. A lot of them got out for twenties and thirties, and hopefully Alistair (Campbell) or Craig (Wishart) can convert one of those scores into a fifty or a hundred, so we can get up near the 350 or 400 mark. That would put us in a position to look for a win if we can bowl well in their first innings.
JW: Any particular innings today you would like to mention?
HS: I thought our openers did an outstanding job. They both left the ball well, especially Gavin Rennie who's come back after a long time out and looked in good touch. Alistair's looking really good out there, really comfortable, and we need him to make a big score, which would do his confidence some good.
JW: What time would you be looking at bowling tomorrow, all being well?
HS: If we bat well, hopefully we'll be bowling in the last session of the day, if not later than that. Obviously we'd like to bat most of tomorrow if we can, which would get us somewhere near the 400 mark.
JW: Any other points you would like to make?
HS: I'm happy that the team spirit was so good during the camp, and hopefully we can continue that and work towards a game plan that we can stick to for this coming season.