Glimmers of hope amid a sea of trouble
Zimbabwe came through their seven-match series in the Caribbean better than many feared, but it was still too obvious that they are some way short of having what it takes to play at the highest level. Martin Williamson gives his end-of-tour reports
Consistent throughout the series, Utseya came of age with the ball where his flight and spin belied his lack of experience and years. He was consistently able to stem the flow of runs in the middle overs, and he provided two of the highlights - one when he comprehensively beat Brian Lara with successive deliveries in the first match in Trinidad, and the other his remarkable diving, juggling boundary catch in the second.
The other real success story of the series with back-to-back fifties in Antigua and then a well-made 40 in Guyana, before he was sidelined with a hamstring injury. On this evidence he appears to possess the temperament and the ability to succeed in international cricket and he is one of Zimbabwe's brightest prospects.
The pick of Zimbabwe's seamers, he led the line well in the first three matches before leaving the tour to take up a club commitment in the UK. The new-ball attack looked distinctly unthreatening without his accurate fast-medium bowling.
Not the fastest of new-ball bowlers, he has an easy action and with tight control he actually managed to put pressure on the batsmen in the early overs. His two opening spells in Trinidad were as good as any in the series, and it seems madness that he was never allowed to share the new ball with Rainsford as the two of them could really have caused a few problems. Like Rainsford, his success opening the bowling is even more impressive considering that he was getting little support from the other end.
Shone in the field where his enthusiasm was noticeable, but his chance only came when Chibhabha was sidelined and he responded with a fifty in his first outing and then was looking threatening when the rain came in the first match in Trinidad. He finished the series with 42 at Trinidad and did enough to show that the long (and largely unproductive) run he has been given in the side might be paying dividends.
One of the side's most experienced players, he kept tidily enough but never really got going with the bat despite getting a start in four of his six innings. On the one occasion he came in with Zimbabwe actually looking for runs rather than survival - in the sixth match - he briefly showed that he had what it takes before the rain intervened, and was set for a fifty when brilliantly run-out in the final game.
An ever-present member of the side, he batted superbly for his 60 at Georgetown but was otherwise struggling for form. His catching could not be questioned, taking four at long-on in the final match.
Another teenager with little experience, that showed when his legspin was mauled at a key stage in the first match in Antigua, but he bowled an excellent spell at Queen's Park Oval which included the wickets of Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan. Lara, however, got revenge in the final match. He bowled with accuracy but was hampered by the fact he did not turn the ball much and lacks variety.
Continued to look upbeat throughout the tour, but in one-day cricket he clearly lacks the range of strokes needed from a top-order batsman and was unable to press on when the situation demanded. His captaincy was at times naïve, but that is hardly his fault as he has been thrown in at the deep end and has only led the side since his ODI debut against Kenya two months ago.
A very young and inexperienced allrounder, he was only brought in for the final two matches in Trinidad, where his medium-pace bowling suffered a mauling in the first game and fared little better in the second. His one innings gave little sign that he would be anything other than a late middle-order batsman.
Fairly anonymous with both bat and ball, his only contribution of substance, a defiant 48, came when the game was already lost in St Lucia. In the final ODI he spilt a tough chance in the field which seemed to sum up his tour. Almost, but not quite.
The jury is still out on Coventry, but the credit he earned for his 74 against India last September is fast evaporating. He failed in his two innings and hardly helped his own cause with some sloppy fielding
Took part in two matches and failed to impress in either. His tour was summed up by his dismissal to Dave Mohammad, when he stepped back and demolished his own stumps attempting a cut.
There were a few raised eyebrows when he was picked for the tour as he had just had a dismal series against Kenya. That form continued here as he struggled for any rhythm and shipped far too many runs for an opening bowler, many of which were gifted as extras.
He arrived in the Caribbean with a hand injury which limited his opportunities, but when he did play and was given the new ball, he was dreadful, lacking any consistency, his 11 overs costing 82.
Oh dear. On the plus side, he scored two hundreds in the warm-up matches. However, in the ODIs his form was beyond wretched with 11 runs in his first five innings as his technique was ripped apart. He made 12 in his final innings, but got off the mark with an edge through the slips and never looked remotely at ease. His gentle seamers were briefly tried and found wanting, and he was far from athletic in the field either.
Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo