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Flower backs Zimbabwe Test return

Liam Brickhill

October 26, 2010

Comments: 10 | Text size: A | A

Grant Flower in the nets, June 26 2003
Grant Flower was part of Zimbabwe's set-up when they were first granted Test status, and believes the team should be allowed back into cricket's top level © Getty Images
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Grant Flower, who has returned to a player/coach role with Zimbabwe after calling time on his career with Essex, believes the country's tabled return to Test cricket next year is coming at the right time. "You just never know if you're not given the opportunity, and I think next year is the right call," Flower told ESPNcricinfo. "It's time to start that process again."

"I'm not sure [if Zimbabwe are ready for Tests], is the honest answer," he said. "But we didn't know if we'd be ready originally, when we were first given Test status. People wrote us off then, and our first class structure then wasn't as good as it is now.

"It was either we sink or swim, to grab a cliché, and we just had to get on with it. We didn't have much depth, but we did alright with it. We got a Test victory probably quicker than any other nation, from what I can recall. Certainly New Zealand and Bangladesh."

Flower, who played in Zimbabwe's inaugural Test against India in 1992, argued that while the current seam attack might initially struggle at Test level the resurgence of the country's first-class structure would stand what would essentially be a fledgling Test side in good stead.

"I think there might still be a few questions about our quick bowling, we don't have too much depth there. In the batting area we've got a bit more depth, more potential, from what I've seen and what I've heard from other people. But our first-class structure is stronger now than it has been in the past, and that can only help."

Zimbabwe's ineffectual pace attack was the most disappointing feature of their winless tour of South Africa in October, and Flower suggested that it was one area which needed particular attention ahead of the World Cup in February next year.

"I think most of the guys are there and thereabouts. I don't think there'll be too many major changes for the World Cup from what I've seen. You've got to back what you're good at, and at the moment our spinners are the main thing.

"But you've got to have some back-up with the seamers, because a lot of teams will see that spin is our main area and attack the spinners, so you've got to have back-up plans. You've got to have guys that can reverse swing the ball. In those sorts of conditions reverse swing plays a big part, so you've got to have seamers that are skilled enough to do that."

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 0:31 GMT)

Honestly, Zimbabwe never will reach test level unless they start playing it now or in the near future. They might struggle for a while, but that is just cricket. The Zimbabwe side has the talented players, they just need to mature against better bowling attacks, and the best way to do that is to play cricket against the best in the world. The aim should be to be playing test cricket immediately following the World Cup. Any later, and the progress made by this side will go to waste.

Posted by tupee on (October 27, 2010, 21:35 GMT)

without saying much watching SA agaist Pakistant in the recent tour l see no reason why Zimbabwe should not be taken seriously they showed better temperement than pakistan is ,Pliz give those africans a chance

Posted by Noxa10 on (October 27, 2010, 7:23 GMT)

Nice to see Zim improving! I think on the pace attack Chris Mpofu has been given enough chance and failed to convince, Zim should persist with Shingi Masakadza who looks promising, and bowls a very good slower ball.

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 3:08 GMT)

I think they can groom Ian Nicholsan, who bowled pretty quick,definetely quicker than Mpofu & Mazakadza,although he went for some runs. I think once Kyle Jarvis return, with some good coaching they can become pretty decent quick bowlers..

Posted by Meety on (October 26, 2010, 23:30 GMT)

Happy enough for a Zim return to Test cricket, except I would hate to see a 3 test series between Zim & India. What I mean is that I hope that the scheduling of matches is controlled so as Zim plays most of their Tests over the FTP against sides like Bangladesh, West Indies, NZ & Pakistan. I think against the top nations they should only play one-off tests at home, (no tours for Tests). I think they can compete at the lower levels, & have huge potential, & a 1st class system that is good despite its administrators. I also believe the time is right to introduce Ireland as well, this would create a lot of variety for sides at the bottom half of the Test standings.

Posted by Nuxxy on (October 26, 2010, 21:55 GMT)

Well Donald and Gillespie are busy coaching first class in Zim. And others are trying to unearth rural bowling talent. It can only mean good things.

Posted by bharath74 on (October 26, 2010, 20:57 GMT)

Zim looking like a gr8 team now, i guess they could be some surprises in the world cup, especially from Zim and Bangladesh.

Posted by nikhilpuri on (October 26, 2010, 18:57 GMT)

Need some good fast bowlers. Heath Streak should make a comeback as well like Flower! haha kidding, but good to see the Flower brothers doing good for international cricket, Andy for England and Grant for Zimbabwe.

Posted by tanstell87 on (October 26, 2010, 18:40 GMT)

m game for Zimbabwe returning to test cricket....as an Indian fan i remember the Flower brothers....the Streaks....the Olongas...the Campbells....Zimbabwe future looks great...they will be competitive...!!!!

Posted by Rakesh_Sharma on (October 26, 2010, 16:42 GMT)

Zimbabwe can be competitive.Get sean Erwine,Blignaut, Marrilier etc back.Work on Kyle and Rainsford for Pace attack. That would be good for next few years. Zim's good First class structure will produce good players in future.

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