Rajkot: Heath Streak is one of the noblest fast bowlers around. He does have the "aggro" of a fast, but he is a firm advocate of the true spirit of the game. He is easily Zimbabwe's most hopeful wicket taking bowler whether the country is playing a Test or One-day International.
He is perhaps Zimbabwe's finest swing bowler as rest of the bowlers relied on pace alone. This not only separates Streak from the rest, but also makes him the kind of bowler who has earned respect from every batsman.
Streak is also a pretty useful batsman and has played many little good innings. He is here in India on what could be the toughest assignment to play a Test series on pitches that would undoubtedly be suitable for the home side.
Arriving a little later than the rest of the squad, the Zimbabwe captain exuded confidence in this exclusive interview with Thatscricket.com. "We are looking forward to this Test series with a positive frame of mind. We need a good domestic set up to develop as a consistent performer," he said. Excerpts of the interview:
Are you looking forward to this series, which is Zimbabwe first full tour of India despite getting Test status in 1992?
Yes, indeed we are looking forward to this series. We played a one-off Test in New Delhi in 1993 and over the years we have played quite a few One-day series. This our first full tour of India and I think it is an honour for us to come here and play two Test matches plus the One-day series.
At the moment you must be very focussed on the Test series?
I know it is difficult to play the host country, but we are really looking forward to the Test series with a positive frame of mind. We are going to start this series on a positive note. I assure you that we will try our best and who knows with little bit of luck we might produce the kind of result which might surprise many. I am pretty hopeful of that.
Are you planning to speak to your bowlers about bowling on Indian pitches, which may not be easy for fast bowlers?
Certainly I will talk to my bowlers and now we have Carl Rackemann as our coach and that should be a great asset for us. He has done so well as a bowler when he was playing for Australia and I am sure he will be a great help on that account on this tour. I am the sure guys will wake up and work hard. A lot of our guys have actually played a lot of cricket on the sub-continent and that will be an additional advantage.
Zimbabwe's visible problem appears to be the inability to bowl the opposition out twice, any comments?
That's true. But, now I think we are very positive and we have played good cricket in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and to some extent in India too. We also defeated Pakistan in Pakistan and I think with the leg-spinner in the team it could be a very balanced bowling attack.
We may have the capacity to take the 20 wickets in a match that you are talking about. I do agree we do struggle to dismiss the opposition twice. Because of that weakness we failed to win at least couple of matches, which I think we should have won.
The other problem appears to be that Zimbabwe hardly get to play a three-Test or five-Test series, don't you think that it's high time you got to play a longer Test series?
I don't think we have played enough first-class matches or Test matches. This is very essential for the overall development of our team as a whole. We need to be more consistent in our Test performance and indeed it is high time that we played at least a series of three to four Test matches at home. That could improve our performance and then we can play a good number of Tests in other countries as well.