Tour diary: reflections on the Tests
Well we have come to the end of the Test match series and what a dissapointing reading it makes. On paper it goes down as Zimbabwe losing 2-0 but how different it could have been. If one looks back one can see that we were on top, we somehow stopped applying the pressure and relinquished the advantage we had worked so hard to achieve, often in the space of a session. The biggest thing we can learn from these two Test matches is the mental toughness required to create and sustain pressure and once we get on top to stay there. The Australians are past masters at this and their record speaks for itself. However credit must be given to the West Indies team who whenever in a sticky situation fought back and did this to win the game in both instances.
There were some great performances on either side and some very memorable moments. Andy Flower's 113* in the first Test was a mammoth effort considering no one else passed fifty in the match; Franklin Rose's burst of fast bowling that captured 4 wickets and won the West Indies the first Test; Curtly Ambrose who won man of the match in the first test for his fast amd accurate bowling capturing 7 wickets in the match; Heath Streak who was outstanding, capturing 9 wickets in the first test.
The second Test was highlighted by centuries from Murray Goodwin and Jimmy Adams and the partnership between Jimmy Adams and Franklin Rose that set a new 8th wicket record for the West Indies. The four West Indian quicks bowled superbly in second innings culminating in Courtney Walsh becoming the leading wicket taker in Test cricketa fantastic achievement. Jimmy Adams was adjudged man of the match for his fighting century and Rover provided a motor car for the man of the series which quite rightly went to Franklin Rose for his contributions in the two matches.
I have mantioned before in one of my reports the concern of many at the state of cricket in the West Indies. I would like to say from first hand experience that I find it flourishing. One has to understand that every team goes through periods of transition and I believe that West Indies are on their way up again. As far as the passion for the sport is concerned, it has been an unbelievable experience. There was a full house at Sabina Park for nearly the whole Test; the noise was deafening but exhilirating. It was an experience to enjoy and to treasure. In Trinidad there was a particular individual by the name of Jumbo - I believe every ground has its own particular character and this one ran a thriving peanut selling business with his selling point being is ability to throw a packet of peanuts with pin point accuracy to anybody in the stand.
The one day tournament starts on Saturday with Pakistan being the other side participating. I believe it will be a very entertaining series. For us, it is time to put the Tests behind us and realise that technically we held our own and were in some cases better than the opposition. The thing that was missing was mental toughness. We need to realise this and deal with it so when we get into good positions again we focus all our attention on converting it into a winning situation.