Harare: After Australia, it is now the turn of Zimbabwe to test India with bouncing deliveries and skipper Heath Streak made no bones of the fact that his bowlers would capitalise on this weakness of the Indian batsmen when the two sides clash in a World Cup match on Wednesday. With India struggling for a win against lowly Holland and bludgeoned by Australia, every team is eyeing its chances against the Indians and Zimababwe skipper Heath Streak is no exception. "It's an opportunity for us to win the game and take a huge step towards the next round," Streak said.
And Zimbabwe's strategy is simple and straightforward. "India is a good side and I carry bitter-sweet memory from the past... But we realise Indians do not have a good track record against bouncing deliveries. We would look to capitalise on this shortcoming of the visitors. "They have some excellent batsmen but then we also know teams like to test them with bouncing deliveries. We would like to use the conditions to our benefit." And the conditions will suit the home team well as the pitch at the Harare Sports Club ground is green and promises seam and bounce.
Zimbabwe has gained full points from the first two games and if it could put it across India, with the game against Namibia to follow, it would have made the most of at least four games and ensure its progress to the next round. Zimbabwe has a reasonably good track record against India but carries some bitter memories of the Delhi Test in 2001 where a certain victory was snatched away through what it claims were umpiring errors. Zimbabwe had India on the mat through some excellent bowling by left-arm paceman Raymond Price and made life so difficult for the host that even 120 in the fourth innings on a flat pitch appeared an improbable target.
India managed to squeak home with a three-wicket victory. "It was a close game and we really kept things tight. It would have been nice to square the series and that too in India," Streak said. However, Zimbabwe is quietly determined to settle the grudge this time around. "We have practiced hard and prepared well. There is a quiet determination within the side to do well in this World Cup," said Streak as he strives to bring Zimbabwe in news for good reasons. Streak said he did not need to follow the Indians' style of play very much on paper because they have played against each other so often in recent past.
"We don't need information and feedback, since we have played against them often in recent times. We are prepared to do our best." Zimbabwe, by the evidence of the first game, even if it was against Namibia, does not look a team which was thrashed 5-0 by Pakistan in a One-day series recently. It has some fine batsmen and bowlers with Flower and Streak being the spearheads in the two areas but importantly it plays as a team and its fielding is top-notch.