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One-day international, v India, at Harare Sports Club; 25 October 1992. INDIA 239 (49.4 overs) (S V Manjrekar 70; G J Crocker 4/26). ZIMBABWE 209 (49.1 overs) (A Flower 62, G J Crocker 50; J Srinath 3/35). India won by 30 runs.
A single one-day international was played between the two teams before India moved on to South Africa. India won by a mere 30 runs, a good performance by the inexperienced Zimbabweans, but the only times they looked in with a chance of victory was at the start of both innings. There was a large crowd of about 8000 for the first official one-day international on Zimbabwean soil.
When India batted after Zimbabwe put them in, they lost both openers with only a single on the board, but Sanjay Manjrekar, as he did in the Test but much more positively this time, held the innings together with a fine 70. Andy and Grant Flower replied with an opening partnership of 63. But thereafter only Gary Crocker, with a fifty on his one-day international debut to follow his four Indian wickets, contributed much to the total.
Andy Pycroft, perhaps surprisingly, did not play in this match, or the two one-dayers against New Zealand. He remembered, "John Hampshire said to me, 'Pykes, you're getting on and we want you to play Test cricket for three years.' I replied, "I don't think I'm going to make it.' My knees were really beginning to bother me, I was still working in a legal office, and I didn't have the capacity to become a pro cricketer at that stage of my career. He said to me, 'Listen, what we'll do is that you will play the Test cricket and we'll leave you out of the one-dayers. That will give you the opportunity, with your knee, to play,' and I said, 'I don't think I can do it anyway.' It was one of those unfortunate things that Test cricket came too late for me. Mark Dekker was up and coming, and they felt that he should play in the one-day set-up. At the time it hurt a bit, but I think John Hampshire was right."
Dave Brain made his international debut in this match. Two months before the match he had no expectation of ever playing cricket seriously again. "I hadn't played for four or five years before then," he said. "It was John Hampshire (who got me back). I had a back injury and then my cricket tailed off and I was doing a lot of hunting. I went to Harare Sports Club nets, probably in September, and 'Hamps' was there. He asked me to bowl a bit, and he invited me to join the squad practice, just to make up numbers. I bowled and it started coming together again. He just got me going."
Dave was to have three seasons at the top, the highlight of which was a superb tour of Pakistan in 1993/94, before fading out almost as quickly as he arrived, due to his inability to combine work with cricket. "It's all confidence," he said. "Hamps just work at it, and Traics helped, and soon got it all right again. I played in the Zimbabwe B team against New Zealand at Old Georgians and got a few wickets, and then I was in. that got the confidence up and I couldn't believe it when they said, 'You're playing.' I was pooping myself because I hadn't played for years, but once I got into it I was fine.
"Half the guys were pro and half were amateur, and we amateurs used to rub the likes of Campbell and Flower up and say, 'We're actually on holiday but you guys are here for work,' and that used to get them going big-time! But we all played when we could, and we battled with work to get to those practices. That was the reason why I eventually packed up; it was too much to try to work and attend all the practices. When I played against South Africa and got carted by Gary Kirsten, I knew I hadn't put in the hours, and I knew then it was either one or the other. In those days there wasn't enough money involved for me to turn pro.
"There was an unbelievable crowd and everyone was hyped up for the game. That was the start of the big-time for us all. I was as nervous as hell, but once I got a wicket I settled down a bit."
Alistair Campbell: "I remember us getting two wickets early. I remember Dave Brain bowling Jadeja first ball; he walked right across his stumps and Brian bowled a big swinger and knocked over his leg stump. I remember us getting Ravi Shastri again, caught Flower - I think it was in the gully - and suddenly they were one for two. Things were looking really good at that stage, but Azharuddin and Tendulkar steered the ship back on track. Even when they were four down for 78 we were in with a shout - 'Gee, guys, let's get amongst them' - but Manjrekar came in and did it again. At the end they had a bit of a flourish - Prabhakar was no slouch with the bat, and More at the end."
"I remember Azhar and Sachin getting out to big shots (both caught by David Brain in the deep) and wondering, 'Why the hell are they playing those shots?'" recalled Andy Flower. "And then when we were batting my clearest memory was being crapped on by John Hampshire after the game. I scored 62 off 104 balls, and he berated me for putting too much pressure on the other batsmen by scoring too slowly. I was really upset about that whole situation, but can understand it now, being a more experienced international cricketer, why he felt that way."
Dave Houghton: "I don't remember this game as vividly as I do the Test match. We had played plenty of one-day games at the time so it wasn't quite as exciting, but I know quite a few of our players were making their one-day international debuts. It was only those of us who had played in the World Cup who had had international exposure at this level.
"We had them in trouble early, taking a couple of early wickets - 'Burmie' got another one early and so did Dave Brain, who was also making his debut. But once again, Gary Crocker - I can't speak highly enough about Gary's performance over these couple of games. He picked up four wickets with the ball and collected himself a fifty. We only lost by thirty-odd runs, so it was quite a close encounter, although you'll probably find we were out of the game ten overs before the end, having lost a number of wickets. So the scoreline flatters us a little; they were probably much better than us on the day.
"That was the start of us using the Flower brothers as an opening partnership, and they were fantastic; their running between the wickets was very good. But they did suffer a number of run-outs, and here Andy was run out on 62. They used to pinch singles all over the place, those two, and they were absolutely fantastic when they batted together. It might be something worth looking at again, actually, in our national side at the moment."
Grant Flower: "I remember Andrew and I getting a good stand, but we were always a bit behind the run rate, unfortunately. Srinath bowled a really good spell, and we just fell behind the run rate. One-day cricket was still new to us, and we play so much now."
Alistair Campbell: "I remember I pulled a quad muscle while I was fielding, which was pretty disappointing. But 239 was a very good score for us to contain them to, although it was a very thick outfield. We had a very solid opening start, albeit a bit slow, but our plan in those days when we hadn't played much one-day cricket was much the same as the team that had played in the past, which was to have wickets in hand at the end. Obviously it's changed now, but that was our game plan then.
"That's what we tried to do, but we left ourselves too much to do in the end and were a bit too far behind the run rate. When the guys tried to up it we lost wickets. I went in at number nine in that game with my leg strapped up and Grant as my runner, and I tried to heave Srinath out of the ground first ball and was bowled! So it was a long walk out there and a long walk back again for little reward, so it was disappointing in that respect.
"But to lose by only 30 runs in our first official one-dayer as a Test nation was okay. There were some positives to take out of that game, but it doesn't stick in the memory as the Test match does. I remember Gary Crocker playing extremely well at the end and giving him a sniff, and while he was there I thought, 'We've got a chance here.' He scored 50, a really good innings, and with four wickets he had a tremendous game."