Donald praises Zimbabwe seam attack
Allan Donald, the South Africa bowling coach, has praised Zimbabwe's attack, saying that their performance in the one-off Test against Bangladesh is a testament to the "hard work and time the guys behind the scenes are putting in.
"It's a really good attack and definitely gives them something to work with," Donald told ESPNcricinfo. Donald coached Zimbabwean franchise, the Mountaineers, last season and was recently in the country with the South Africa A side when they participated in a triangular series also featuring Australia A.
Donald made special mention of the new-ball pair of Brian Vitori and Kyle Jarvis, both of whom impressed in taking five wickets each in the Test. Donald had seen both of them when he was in Zimbabwe and said he spotted their talent early on.
"I saw Brian when we played the Southern Rocks, he was playing for their second team and I saw him warming up one morning by himself and wondered why he wasn't in the first side. He had such good discipline." Vitori appears to be the most competent left-arm bowler to play for Zimbabwe since Bryan Strang, who last played a decade ago, and his unique angle brought immediate results.
Together with Jarvis, Vitori formed a promising partnership, with his swing and Jarvis' pace the key elements of their pairing. "I am so happy for Kyle, especially because he had such trouble with his back last year," Donald said, referring to Jarvis' stress fracture, which kept him out of the game for several months and is said to have cost him a yard or two in pace. "All he did was hang around the grounds and try and learn."
With two such determined characters taking the new ball for Zimbabwe, Donald thinks they may have found the ideal combination, after having been through a fair number of seamers recently. That list includes Shingirai Masakadza, younger brother of Hamilton, who Donald thinks will come back strongly after being dropped for this series, although he was part of Zimbabwe's World Cup squad. "He gets some serious gas, he's up there at about 138 or 140 [kph] and is a very good athlete," Donald said.
With the number of young quicks coming through the franchise system, the likes of Chris Mpofu and Elton Chigumbura will have to "improve" significantly to keep pushing for their places, even in the 50-over format. "You need two good guys who will have pace and can knock people over," Donald said, indicating that he felt Vitori and Jarvis should keep their spots for the five-match ODI series against Bangladesh.
"As they saw in the Test match, with Bangladesh, you pick up one or two and that can become three, four and five. They play loose shots although some days they can play serious cricket and beat you all ends up."
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent