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Liam Brickhill at Queens Sports Club
August 1, 2013
The silver lining for Zimbabwe after Thursday's thumping, and it's a very slim lining indeed, is the batting form of Elton Chigumbura. The allrounder, who was unbeaten on 50 as Zimbabwe disintegrated, is their leading run-scorer in the series with 142 runs at an average - boosted by two not-outs - of 71.
Indeed, Chigumbura seems to have a thing for Indian bowlers: in six one-day innings against India, he's been dismissed just twice in compiling 182 runs and has scored at close to a run a ball against them.
"[India] always seem to come at a good time, when I'm playing well," he said. "This is the second time I've played against them, and mostly that has been on wickets that are good to bat on."
It was expected that Zimbabwe would have an easier time of things at Queens Sports Club, where the pitch usually favours batting, but that proved - spectacularly - not to be the case. Chigumbura pointed to a lack of application by his side's batsmen rather than any misreading of the pitch.
"It was a good wicket to bat on. We all know when we play at Queens, it's always a batter's wicket and if you apply yourself then you can make runs. [A lack of application] been the problem for the last three games. Losing early wickets, it's hard to come back, especially if you then keep losing wickets. Some of the batters are now coming in at different times that they are not used to. If we can have no early wickets, then the rest of the batters will end up batting in their natural position.
"The guys are working hard, but I think it's just a matter of being smart when we start our innings, especially our first ten overs when we're losing two to three early wickets. Besides working hard, I think the guys just need to maybe take a little bit of time at the wicket. It all comes together when you stay out there."
A repeated mantra for Zimbabwe during this series has been that they've put in a lot of preparation, and now is the time to put it into action. Their failure hasn't been for a lack of trying, but Chigumbura was at a loss as to how to explain the root cause of their inadequacies. With this series gone, it seems all that is left is to look forward to the next one, and hope it will be better.
"We are all trying to improve in every game, but it's unfortunate on this tour we haven't done so. But if you look at our past history, playing at home we have done well. It's just one of those tours, where things are not coming together on the batting side. We just need to finish well, and hopefully when Pakistan come our batting will gel."
Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape TownFeeds: Liam Brickhill
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough