Heath Streak – Head coach of the Zimbabwe side, on Tuesday, urged his team to “shed off their underdog mentality” and play a “winning brand of cricket” against South Africa when they will take on each other in a one-off day-night Test next week in Port Elizabeth.
Graeme Cremer-led Zimbabwe side will start their three-day warm-up match against a South African Invitation team in Paarl on Wednesday before going into the much awaited Boxing Day encounter on 26 December at St George's Park Cricket Ground in South Africa.
As per AFP, Heath Streak told reporters in Paarl, “We’d rather lose trying to play a winning brand of cricket than just compete. The main thing is belief and shaking off that underdog mentality we had.”
Zimbabwe’s Test record against the Proteas is not well, as they have played just ten Tests since August 2014, losing nine and drawing one. Streak added, “It’s well documented how little Test cricket we play. I think for us it’s less about the type of cricket than about playing at international level. Whether it’s playing Tests or one-day internationals, it’s the gaps in between that are the biggest challenge for us.”
It will be Zimbabwe’s first day-night Test and Graeme Cremer said their three-day Day-Night warm-up at Boland Park in Paarl will be a crucial part of his team’s preparation for the one-off Test.
The Zimbabwe skipper added, “We haven’t played with a pink ball and we haven’t played a lot under lights. We’ve had two sessions under lights to see how it (the pink ball) reacts. At twilight, when it’s starting to get dark a little more seems to happen off the wicket.”
He further added, “This warm-up game will give us a good idea of what to expect and there will be lots of discussion before the Test. The so-called bigger teams will probably have to score a bit quicker and give the lesser teams more opportunities to take wickets. The game will move a lot quicker, I think.”
Meanwhile, Head Coach Streak said, “With 98 overs a day, it makes it a four-and-a-half day Test and the twilight conditions will be more challenging for batters.”
Cremer also stressed they have to play consistently well throughout the game to win the Boxing Day Test match against South Africa. He concluded by saying, “We tend to lose Test matches in a certain period, say in an afternoon or in one day of the Test match. But we’ve played a lot of good cricket. It’s usually been the first innings with the batting that we have struggled so we’re hoping to change that.”