October 23, 2000

Alistair Campbell's Zimbabwe Diary

Zimbabwe's leading batsman writes exclusively for CricInfo. Here, in the second instalment of his diary, he reflects on the team's disappointing start to the tournament in Sharjah and reveals how they relax between games

Greetings from a very hot and humid Sharjah. Thirty five degrees and 90% humidity is hardly inviting weather to play cricket in, especially back to back games as we have just completed.

Our first match against Sri Lanka resulted in a comfortable win for the Sri Lankans. Although we lost there were some positives to take out of the game. Andy Flower's 120 was one of the best one day hundreds I have seen, and Dirk Viljoen recorded a career best 62. However 225 was always going to be 40 or so runs short and so it proved.

The second game against India was a game we needed to win to steady the ship as it were. Heath Streak won the toss and elected to bowl, an advantage straight away as heavy dew had been affecting the side fielding at night with the ball getting very wet. India scored 265, probably 15 runs too many as they managed to score 55 off the last 5 overs. We paced our chase quite well but fell thirteen runs short despite the best efforts of our batsmen.

Aside from cricket, there has not been that much to do, as practising and playing have been the order of the day. However a few of the boys have visited the gold market across the road from our hotel. An interesting place to say the least as you are spoilt for choice and bargaining is the order of the day.

We are going shopping for electronics this morning in Dubai, which should be an eye opener. Activities for tomorrow include a desert safari and/or golf at the famed Emirates course which was created out of pure desert. Talking of deserts I asked our liaison officer as to where the desert actually starts. He told me that most of the Emirates are desert, and if you don't see buildings, roads, man-made lagoons or grass, all you will see is sand.

We start again on Wednesday against Sri Lanka and then on Thursday we play India: must win games if we are going to play in the final, which is something we want to do.