September 22, 2000

Guy Whittall on his century


Guy Whittall finished the day on 105 not out, a superb fighting innings, as Zimbabwe followed on. He talks to John Ward about the fourth day's play.

JW: Guy, congratulations on a great innings, after what was a pretty desperate situation overnight.

GW: Yes, thanks very much. We've got a long way to go in the game, though. Seeing we were only playing six batters, we managed to bat for a good hundred overs, which is fantastic. It was nice to bat with Andy Flower again. He's really able to get us motivated out there and he led the way for us.

JW: It was very defensive batting out there before lunch, though, and it didn't seem to work.

GW: Well, at the top of the order we've got Stuart Carlisle there and Gavin Rennie. Grant Flower's taking a lot of responsibility at the front there; he's managed to see off the new ball but unfortunately he hasn't really gone on from there. But we're getting the basics right and we're seeing out the new ball, but we've got to capitalise on that and go through. We had a little team chat this morning on the way we were going to play, and basically the guys just have to work out and become confident in their defence as well as their attack. Every game now Stuart Carlisle's got out to attacking shots, and unfortunately he got out to a cut today, but it is his strength and I just hope he can carry on playing it. I think he's doing very well and he's come through.

JW: How did you personally feel when you went in to bat?

GW: Well, I had my own game plan and I was confident. I always enjoy playing here at Harare Sports Club; the pitch always has a bit in it for the bowlers and I enjoy the challenge.

JW: How did the New Zealanders bowl today and what tactics did they use against you?

GW: What has really impressed me about the New Zealand bowlers is that they've all learned to follow the Australian style when everybody comes in off short run-ups and they can bowl ten-over spells and really give the batter a workout. I hope we can work on that in the next year or so, and with someone like Henry maybe we can get more overs out of him. He comes in off a very long run-up and he can put his effort balls in and just learn from what McGrath and Fleming did last year against us. Those guys all used to have long run-ups but now they've got shortish run-ups and they're more economical and you can get a lot more out of them. Then hopefully we can go in with three top seamers. I just think [the New Zealanders today] bowled very well, they bowled in the channel and Stephen Fleming's a good tactical captain. He never really lets you settle down; there's always something else he's planning for. But we managed to come through today and hopefully we can keep it going tomorrow.

JW: Who do you think was New Zealand's best bowler today?

GW: Dion Nash is quite a class act; Cairns is a class act. They all bowled quite well.

JW: You certainly got them frustrated. Their behaviour on the field looked pretty poor, but I don't suppose you can say much about that.

GW: The Kiwis always come very hard at us; they always seem to get us on the back foot and then really put the pressure on. Then when they do get into positions like this, they always seem to come through at us.

JW: It must have been a great feeling to get a century in such a situation, especially with a six.

GW: Cheers, thanks very much! If it's in the right area, it's going, isn't it? That's my game plan. You get out there and you get out to them, but you have to be strong enough in the next game to work it out for yourself. Every pitch is different, but you have to have a game plan for each pitch.