Zimbabwe in WI: Series Review
16 May 2006
By: Liam Camps
They came, they participated, and they were conquered. Zimbabwe could not have expected much when they arrived in the Caribbean in terms of victory, and with a 5-0 result (due only to two rain-outs) expectations were met comfortably.
The West Indies played host and issued a rare whitewash, certainly in recent years. That it came against a team of the club level cricketers of present day Zimbabwe does detract from its value, however. And that the West Indies were rarely ever dominant throughout a match only further serves warning of many flaws ahead of India's visit to the Caribbean.
Though the Zimbabweans were soundly beaten in the end, the series seemed to prove more to their benefit than that of the hosts. Whilst the West Indies neglected to find top form against weak opposition, Zimbabwe unearthed young talent that may serve well in the future.
Some 33 players participated in the series between the two sides. The West Indies rotated 17 over the course of the series, and all 16 of Zimbabwe's young touring party got opportunities. Precious experience for some on either side, albeit in a largely predictable and boring manner.
Zimbabwean Report Cards
Marks out of 10
9 - Justice Chibhabha
Spirit. Courage. Temperament. In Justice Chibhabha, Zimbabwe appear to have found a player capable of coping with the responsibilities of a fragile top order. Consecutive half centuries and a score of 40 in three innings before injury take Chibhabha to the head of the class.
8 - Prosper Utseya
Consistently the most reliable Zimbabwean bowler, Utseya's offspin continues to be crucial. The brilliance of his catching and fielding adds another dimension to his clear usefulness in one-day international cricket.
Accuracy and seam movement make a good opening bowler, and Rainsford possessed both in sufficient amount to be consistently threatening with the new ball. Though he played only 3 matches before leaving to play club cricket in the UK, Rainsford established himself as Zimbabwe's best seamer at the start and end of the innings.
Consistency and heart made up for Mupariwa's lack of pace, and he impressed all that saw him with the new white ball.
Despite constant failure in his career to date, Sibanda was entrusted with yet another opportunity, and his approach finally resembled proficiency. Some 135 runs at 27 is a huge success.
6 - Brendan Taylor
Having entered the series with a reputation as Zimbabwe's best batsman, Taylor struggled to make a genuine impact, but rather gathered several impressive starts and no big scores. Aside from a bad miss off Sarwan in the opening match, his wicketkeeping was tidy enough, however.
A livewire in the field, Elton Chigumbura showed the world that he has a very safe pair of hands. Though he got no opportunities with the ball and took just one opportunity with the bat - a fine 60 at Georgetown - his talent is clear as always.
A definite learning experience for the young man. At 18 years old, the dismissals of Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan must have left Higgins overjoyed. However, despite being consistent and accurate, a lack of variety and spin on the ball found him wanting at times.
4 - Gregory Strydom
Only an innings of 48 stands out of Strydom's trip to the Caribbean. Aside from that knock in an already-lost game, Strydom joined many of his teammates in his failure to impact with any significance.
3 - Blessing Mahwire
An 'A' for effort, but as the second most experienced Zimbabwean seamer entering the series, much more was expected from Mahwire. Never short of enthusiasm, but always short of consistency and potency.
Not much to judge young Keegan Meth on, but in limited opportunity he performed moderately, if ineffectively.
2 - Anthony Ireland
Very little opportunity and even less of an impact. Ireland bowled 11 overs in the series and surrendered 82 runs.
Laboured batting and uninspired leadership count against the inexperienced Zimbabwean skipper. Duffin's inability to score with any ease or aggression mounted the pressure on an equally inexperienced middle order. The summary phrase - woefully out of depth.
Few signs of competency with the bat and even fewer of potency with the ball made Dabengwa's tour a genuine disappointment.
Coventry played as a specialist batsman, yet his impact on the series was minute. Still, it was marginally greater than that of Rinke.
1 - Piet Rinke
Rinke simply could hardly procure a run for most of the series, and only reached double figures in his sixth and final innings. Poor technique and a dislike for Jerome Taylor worked against him. Two centuries in the warm up matches mean little in the context of his dismal showing when it was time to get down to business.
West Indian Report Cards
Marks out of 10
9 - Shivnarine Chanderpaul
After a shaky start to the series, the former West Indies captain played himself back into top form. The transformation culminated with a brilliant innings of 93 in the final international match at Bourda, as Chanderpaul thoroughly entertained his home crowd before being undone by Rainsford.
It may have only been against Zimbabwe, but Jerome Taylor bowled with enough zest and accuracy to suggest that he could be good for the West Indies for a very long time. Having cast aside the plague of injuries for the moment, Taylor continues to improve.
8 - Runako Morton
Morton started sluggishly and very much lacking fluency in the first two matches, but with impressive scores of 79 and 109 in his final two innings, he re-iterated the promise first shown in New Zealand earlier this year.
Solid without ever venturing too far toward the spectacular, Sarwan compiled 3 fifties in 5 innings. However, his 91 in the final game was the closest he got to a century.
About as impressive a debut as he could have hoped for. Mohammed continued with his 2006 form and bamboozled the Zimbabwean batsmen with accuracy and lack of spin, taking 3 wickets in his only chance.
One can only play the opposition placed in front of him. Though Sewnarine Chattergoon got his opportunity against lowly Zimbabwe, he did little wrong with it. An unbeaten half-century in a 10-wicket fifth ODI win sees a career average of 63 after 2 international innings.
7.5 - Carlton Baugh jr.
Baugh only got two chances to impress in the final two games. What wicketkeeping he was asked to do, he did well, and powerful ball striking at the close of the innings promises much with the arrival of India and MS Dhoni.
7 - Corey Collymore
Collymore did everything asked of him... except take wickets. Typically accurate and probing, he made an encouraging return to international cricket, despite going wicketless in 21 overs.
Few can fault Lara's captaincy in his third coming to date. He led the West Indies as intelligently and expertly as is needed to beat modern day Zimbabwe. Several cameos were apparent in the series, but the lack of a big score was a bit of a disappointment.
Another typical series, Bradshaw was steady and reliable but rarely troubled the headlines.
6 - Fidel Edwards
In what was supposed to be his breakout series, Edwards lacked the potency he promised in New Zealand. Relative consistency in line and length earned solid rewards, however.
In a pleasant return to the bowling crease, Dwayne Bravo found a nagging line and length throughout the series. He did not take his few opportunities with the bat, however.
Although he averaged 48 over the course of the series, it was Gayle's bowling that looked the more assured of his all-round game. An innings of 95 in the fifth game could not mask a clear lack of confidence in his batting.
For all the promise of his 37 in the first ODI, Ramdin surrendered his wicket to another daft stroke and continues to encourage mass head scratching around the Caribbean.
5 - Dwayne Smith
Quickly becoming a bowling allrounder, Dwayne Smith had another more productive series with the ball than the bat. He has now taken 20 wickets (25.10 average) in his last 14 matches, whilst scoring runs at an average of 21.91 per innings.
4 - Marlon Samuels
Admittedly he never got a chance to score outside of the slog overs, but Marlon Samuels' impact on the series was far more prominent with the ball than the bat. His offspin continues to prove useful, but it is Samuels' batting talent that will need to shine through if he is to hang around in ODI cricket.
1 - Tino Best
Best endured a hugely underwhelming return to international cricket, where he was the only West Indian bowler to finish with a series economy rate in excess of 4.5. Granted he only played one game, but he was mauled for 70 runs in 10 overs in that time. Pace, pace and nothing else.Discuss this news item in the Cricket Web Forums