Zim hope for turnaround in Tests

HARARE - Zimbabwe cricket coach Alan Butcher is hoping his team will salvage some pride in the two-match Test series which begins with the opener in Bridgetown, Barbados, today.

Today’s match at Kensington Oval will mark the first time Zimbabwe will be playing a Test match in the Caribbean in a decade.

It will also be the first time the African team will be playing at Kensington Oval and Butcher said they were looking forward to the game.

“A tour of the Caribbean is always a great place to come play cricket and enjoy the region. We came back into Test cricket in 2011 and defeated Bangladesh which was a great achievement because no one expected us to win,” Butcher told the Barbados Nation yesterday.

“Unfortunately we haven’t played a Test match in over a year, so that makes us look forward to the Test match because we don’t get to play Test matches that often so they are special.”

The Englishman, who will leave the Zimbabwe job at the end of the series, admitted that his team has not been competitive so far in the series here in the Caribbean, falling to heavy defeats in the One-Day International and T20 series. Butcher noted they are hoping that this Test series will see a turn-around in their fortunes and that they would at least be competitive against the West Indies.

“I am hoping that we bat better than we did in the One-Day series and for us to be competitive and stay in the game. We need to get more runs than we have done in the One-Day series; it is as simple as that. A couple of guys have put in decent individual performances, but we haven’t really gotten together as a batting unit to get the totals that we need to challenge the West Indies. That is what I hope for,” said Butcher.

Zimbabwe played to a draw in its three-day tour match against a team from the High Performance Centre and Butcher was pleased with the performances of some of his players. He especially singled out Hamilton Masakadza, Malcolm Waller, Vusimuzi Sibanda and Graeme Cremer who were outstanding for Zimbabwe.

“Hamilton Masakadza played very well and Sibanda in the second innings and Malcolm Waller had a good innings in the first. But the middle order didn’t contribute as much as I would have liked on what was a good pitch to bat on. I think the whole thing will hinge on whether we can post a good first innings total to make the game competitive,” said Butcher. - Sports Writer

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