Zimbabwe content and confident
Heath Streak -
Photo © CricInfo
Zimbabwe are a more confident and contented side today than they were when they were last at Canterbury two months ago. It was in their match against Kent that arguments over pay reached a climax and could well have been a cause of Murray Goodwin's decision to leave the country for Australia.
Although the tour fees have not been increased moves are believed to be in motion by the Zimbabwe cricket authorities to provide better cash deals for their players. There may not be any extra money on the table but since then Zimbabwe have prospered to the extent of £20,000 from winners' cheques and two £1,500 Man-of-the-Match awards in the NatWest Series.
Zimbabwe have made themselves so at home in this series that it is appropriate that they are having the Kent dressing-room. And they have succeeded without the services of their front-line quick bowlers. Heath Streak, who missed today's practice session, is having a fitness test before the match, but Pommie Mbangwa and Mluleki Nkala are definitely out with injured shoulder and back respectively.
Captain Andy Flower said: ``I think if we get one more win we'll be in the final, but there's a lot of work to do to get one more win. It doesn't put any extra pressure on us. The guys are not getting carried away". Some of the side had laughed about press reports of their 'pea-shooter' attack but the joke was now on their critics.
The injuries had given the less experienced players the opportunity to development and show their capability. West Indies had had the edge in the play that was possible against England at lord's on Sunday. Coach Roger Harper agreed that they had bowled much better there than against Zimbabwe at Bristol and hoped that the progress would continue. He drew particular attention to the restrictive capacity of Chris Gayle's off-spin. Nevertheless there was a lot of room for improvement in the fielding. Fast bowler Courtney Walsh, kept out of the Series so far by a sore in-step, prospective new-ball partner Reon King (back) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (right forearm) require late fitness checks.
Zimbabwe (from): A. Flower (captain and wkt kpr), N. Johnson, C. Wishart, M. Goodwin, A. Campbell, G. Flower, G. Whittall, H. Streak , D. Viljoen, P. Strang, B. Strang, G. Brent.
West Indies (from): J. Adams (captain), S. Campbell, C. Gayle, W. Hinds, B. Lara, S. Chanderpaul, R. Powell, R. Jacobs (wkt kpr), F. Rose, M. Dillon, N. McLean, C. Collymore, R. King, C. Walsh.
Umpires: R. Julian and B. Dudleston