Batsmen Soft Dismissals Against Proteas Anger Streak

Following his team’s loss to South Africa by an innings and 120 runs in the four-day, day night pink ball Test inside two days at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak has expressed his displeasure with the way the batsmen gave away their wickets.

The Chevrons were blown away by the South Africa pace bowling attack in just two days. Zimbabwean batsmen were a huge disappoint in the middle, with 16 wickets lost in just a day’s action. Even Proteas left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj got in on the act with a five-wicket haul in Zimbabwe’s second innings. The highest score by a Zimbabwean batsman in the Test was 23, made by tail-ender Kyle Jarvis in the first innings and Craig Ervine in the second.

“For me, the disappointing thing was just the manner in which a couple of guys got out softly, chasing wide balls, like Raza’s dismissal, getting out to the spinner like he did, those type of dismissals, those were the ones I felt really upset about,’’ Streak said.

What disappointed the former Zimbabwe skipper was the fact that he and batting coach Lance Klusener had sat down with the batsmen to discuss the approach to their innings, something the players did not implement when they went in to bat.

“To defend Lance we spoke at length individually to guys on how they wanted to play, they go on analysis, we look at the South African bowlers, each and every one had a plan of playing, the execution really comes down to the individual,’’ he said.

With South Africa fielding their fiery pace bowling attack of Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander, they left some grass on the wicket for their bowlers to exploit.

“The wicket had a lot of grass on it, it was always going to be a challenge, even during daytime, we saw when we bowled we created a lot of problems, Aiden Markram alluded to in his post-match press conference, he said he never failed in on that wicket. It got easier but he never felt in so it was a tough wicket,’’ Streak said.

He indicated that the pace was the biggest issue for the Zimbabwean batsmen as they are not used to facing such quick bowling back home.

“With the amount of grass, they left and with the attack that South Africa had. Of course, the guys had a plan, the biggest challenge for the guys was the lateral movement of the seam, the reality is that we don’t often face those conditions all the time in Zim on our wickets and the pace, Rabada bowled at 140 plus, Morkel bowled 140,’’ he said.

Streak was disheartened by the fact that they allowed Maharaj to pick up five wickets on a wicket he should not achieve that milestone on.

“For me, the disappointment yesterday( Wednesday) was allowing the spinner to get five wickets, he bowled well but I didn’t think it was the sort of wicket that we should have given the spinner five wickets,’’ Streak said.

West Indies bowling coach Roderick Estwick last month urged to spice liven up their Test pitches because he felt wickets with pace make for better cricket. Streak, however, believes every team at home prepares wickets that favour their bowlers.

 “I think he is living in a life of illusions, if you have watched the Test matches that India play at home, they will never play on a green seamer. That’s what South Africa did to us, I am sure that’s exactly what they will do to India, you watch the wickets that they going to prepare for India, there is not going to be anything for Jadeja or Ashwin,’’ Streak reckoned.

Streak and his lads will now turn their attention to limited overs cricket as they gear up for the 2019 Cricket World Cup Qualifier to be staged in Zimbabwe in March. The Chevrons head off to Bangladesh on 9 January for triangular One Day International series which will also involve Sri Lanka. From there, the Graeme Cremer led team will clash with Afghanistan in the United Arab Emirates in five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals prior to returning home for the Qualifier warm-up matches.


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