On Sunday, Tendai Chisoro became the 103rd Zimbabwean to play Test cricket. It marked a remarkable renaissance for the man had switched from being a fast bowler to a spinner only two years ago and even now is often pigeon-holed as a limited-overs specialist.
Though he struggled to make an impact with either bat or ball in his first day on the field as a Test cricketer, Chisoro revelled in the experience and insisted that Zimbabwe were still in a position of strength. They still lead West Indies by 248 runs.
Picked as a specialist spinner, Chisoro had to wait until late in the afternoon to have a bowl. “It helped with the nerves, not bowling too early on,” he said. “It gave me time to settle. And I knew it was the team plan. There was a leftie and a rightie batting, so since the captain [Greame Cremer] turns the ball away from the right-hand bat [so] he’d bowl from one end. We fancied Sikandar Raza more than me or the captain bowling at the left-hander, because he turns the ball away.”
When Chisoro did eventually bowl, he came desperately close to picking up a wicket in his first over. But the hard-hit drive from Kieran Powell landed just short of Solomon Mire at long-on. He troubled Kraigg Brathwaite a lot more, repeatedly beating the outside edge.
“I think I started well with the ball, but I think I could bowl a little straighter,” Chisoro said. “I was a little wide to the right hander, and the ball kept missing everything – the bat, the stumps, the pads. If I bowl a little straighter and then one doesn’t turn, I could get an lbw.”
Adjusting his line is only part of the battle for Chisoro, who finds most of his success bowling flat and full. Before this series, he spent time playing limited-overs club cricket in England, and then turned out for Speen Ghar Tigers in Afghanistan’s Shpageeza Cricket League.
“I don’t really think about seam anymore as it’s been two years since I bowled seam,” Chisoro said. “So the adjustment I had to make came from being used to the limited-overs game, T20 and one-day stuff. I tend to bowl a little straighter to the right-hander, and a little quicker. Luckily, I didn’t play in the first Test, so I had time to adjust in bowling a little slower. That was entirely up to Streaky [Heath Streak, the coach] He helped me out with that. It was going to be easier for them if I’d bowled quicker, because then the ball just comes straight on. To set up the batsman [in a Test], you have to bowl a little slower.”
Zimbabwe were only able to take one wicket in 49 overs. Then again West Indies haven’t exactly raced ahead. “When we look at the score now, it’s 78 for 1, but considering the number of overs we’ve bowled, the run-rate is a bit slow even for Test cricket,” Chisoro said. “So if you add two wickets onto that score, it’s a different ballgame.
“[Devendra] Bishoo is one of the two batsmen out there now, and he’s not considered a batsman, so tomorrow he’ll come and play shots, and give us chances. Hopefully in the first hour we’ll strike early, and after that look to keep attacking them.
“Considering what happened in the first Test, if we bowl West Indies out and we have a lead of around 100, we’ll fancy ourselves to bowl them out in the fourth innings and win the Test match. As a team, we said if we get 650 runs in both innings combined, we’ll be safe and have a chance to win the game.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo