September 14, 2000

Paul Strang talks about his 6 wicket performance

JW: Paul, after so long out of Test cricket, it must be a thrill to be back, and especially in these circumstances, with six wickets in the innings.

PS: Yes, it's good to be back on the park and playing, and getting the wickets is a bonus. I think it's good, but I'm obviously not going to go over the moon about it. It's just one day and I've got to go on from here.

JW: How's your arm feeling after all the bowling today?

PS: I'm a bit weary, but it's more just match fitness than anything else, because I haven't bowled this length of time for so long. But I'm very happy with the way it is and with a day like this you have to take it away and put it in a special memory bank.

JW: Can you just review your injury and how you recovered from it?

PS: It was just a repetitive stress injury of the forearm which came along through so much cricket, and I had to take a good year out from the game and there were times I thought I wouldn't be playing again because obviously the requirements of international cricket are hard. You've got to be able to practise and put the time in, so it's one of those things, and I'm very happy with the way it's come out. But I'm not jumping to any conclusions; there's still a long way to go.

JW: Last season when you were injured you asked to be released from your contract with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union. What's the position with your contract this season?

PS: I've been offered a contract, but I haven't read it in detail yet, though I'm open to accepting it.

JW: How did your season go with Haslingden in England?

PS: It was all right. It was important for me to be playing cricket again, and that was the main thing: just to get out there and rediscover my bowling and enjoy myself, and it was good. It wasn't a particularly successful season; it's quite hard over there in England, and for a spinner it's cold and wet a lot of the time. It was just one of those things I had to do.

JW: Do you remember your season's batting and bowling figures?

PS: I missed a third of the season because of the one-day internationals and I was called up for that tour, so it wasn't particularly good. As a club we didn't have a great season either, so nothing really stands out there.

JW: How do you feel you bowled in the triangular series?

PS: I played in four games and I was happy with that, but that was the first time I was coming back after the injury. I was a bit tentative with the action and I didn't know how the arm was going to play, but I obviously just set myself to go out there and bowl, and if the arm starts playing up again it plays up. I have to mess around with it, fine-tune it and see how we can get there.

JW: Have you consciously changed your bowling at all since you were last playing regularly?

PS: Yes, I've changed my action slightly, but that was probably more a modification than anything to do with the arm.

JW: What are your feelings about Zimbabwe's first innings in this match?

PS: I think it went quite well. You've got to understand where Zimbabwe cricket is at the moment and I thought we did very well. We batted a long time and got up to 350, which is a pretty decent score in any Test match. Maybe it took us a bit long to get there over that period of time. Maybe if you bat that long you should be getting 400. I think the New Zealanders deserve a lot of credit. They bowled very well and at the end of the day 350 is probably a good score. I was disappointed I didn't get any runs but people batted all the way down. We could probably have had a few more partnerships but now at the end of the third day it's nicely poised.

JW: What's your assessment of the pitch?

PS: It's played all right. It's turned a lot and bounced, but there's nothing untoward. It's come on quite nicely for the seamers but it's a very typical Queens wicket.

JW: What was your game plan when you came on to bowl?

PS: Just to get the ball in the right place and see how things went. I bowled a few bad balls but at the end of the day I picked up some wickets, so that's the main thing.

JW: Where was the right place for you today?

PS: It varied, depending on which batters were facing and what pace I was bowling. It's just one of those things; you go with a bit of feel.

JW: Can you describe how you took your wickets?

PS: No - you make that up! You watched them; I haven't seen many of them on TV. I haven't seen the replays so I can't tell you. They weren't great turners or anything; it was just a case of getting the ball in the right place, missing a straight ball or nicking.

JW: Was there any particular plan you had that worked, or is that something you'd rather not give away at the moment?

PS: There weren't any. I just bowled!

JW: Which batsmen did you find most difficult to bowl to?

PS: Cairns is always awkward because he punishes you. Horne batted very well, I thought, for his hundred, but I think New Zealand are a great outfit. They bat a long way down, so we can't be complacent about where we are. We have a lot of work to do.