SEAMER Bryan Strang shapes into his trademark run-up. As the bowler charges in, batsman Jimmy Adams looks up expectantly — as he will do for the duration of his innings&
#8217; 43 runs.
Strang attempts a late yorker. Adams blocks, just . . . Next ball, Strang lets rip an inswinger into the left-hander. Adams tries to slash past midwicket. Just a single.
Adams is batting responsibly so far having come in at number four. Two of the top three batsmen have gone out for ducks. Adams is battling to rebuild the innings.
The other two bowlers have got the stick. But Adams is finding it tough to get anything off the economical Strang. His figures after bowling seven overs are 1/13 with three maidens.
This could easily pass for a rewind of a Test match between Zimbabwe and the West Indies sometime four or five years ago. After they last played for their respective countries in 2001, former West Indies kingpin Jimmy Adams and former Zimbabwe swing bowler Bryan Strang got a chance to relive old memories when the two starred for Universals and Old Hararians respectively in the last round of the Zimbabwe National League last Sunday.
Adams, now 37, has been in Zimbabwe since November, training local development coaches in the country’s major urban centres. The former Calypso Kings star initially came to Zimbabwe as part of the television commentary team that covered the Zimbabwe-England series. He decided to stay on after the matches and was effectively recruited by Zimbabwe Cricket on a four-month contract. Apart from coaching, Adams also takes time to play domestic cricket for the Ridgeview-based club Universals.
Soon after his side lost by four wickets to Old Hararians in Milton Park on Sunday, Adams gladly granted a snap interview for this column.
“I’ve been pretty active since the England tour finished,” said Adams. “Basically, we are trying to uplift the standards of coaches involved with juniors. I’ve gone all over the country conducting coaching clinics which have been well-attended.”
Born James Clive Adams in St Mary’s, Jamaica, and capped 54 times in Test cricket by the Windies over a period of close to a decade, Adams had a highest Test score of 208 runs. He notched a total of 3 012 Test runs at an average of 41,26 and 2 204 ODI runs from 127 matches.
Adams also added his name to the list of West Indian captains when he took over from Brian Lara in 2000. A year later he retired from international cricket on a low note after leading West Indies to a 5-0 drubbing by Australia in a Test series, having started well with four wins and two draws in his first six games as skipper.
He was also a key player in the one-day side, featuring in two World Cups in 1995 and 1999.
“As a child I dreamt of playing for the West Indies,” he said. “Playing for West Indies is a very passionate thing. Plenty of young men dream of the day when they are selected to represent the national team.”
A top order batsman and occasional slow left-arm orthodox bowler, Adams was a useful part-time bowler in the West Indies line-up.
“I considered myself just as a slow bowler. I was never able to spin or turn the ball in my whole career and it was something that I had to live with,” Adams said.
Adams becomes the second coach from the Caribbean currently attached to Zimbabwe after national team mentor Phil Simmons, whom he played alongside for the Windies.
“I’m in contact with Phil and we are good friends. It’s nice to have someone you know when you come to a foreign country. I think Phil is doing a good job here and I’m happy for him,” he said.
Adams’ participation in Zimbabwe’s domestic cricket, though only a short stint, is a good move that avails young players of the opportunity to play with and against a player with vast experience at the highest level of competition. He believes there should be more deliberate efforts to keep former international players in domestic cricket.
“It’s good to encourage them to keep playing. In the West Indies we suffer financial problems to keep older players but the good thing is that we try to make up by a strong passion for the game. There is a culture of cricket which keeps everyone going,” he said.
On the standards of cricket in Zimbabwe, Adams acknowledged the abundance of talent in the country but noted that the players are not “as tactically and technically aware as they should be”.
He said: “There is need to get more people playing. The entire population has to grow up in a cricket culture. With that, standards will definitely go up.”
Adams’ tenure ends at the end of this month, but he said he would consider signing another contract if it is offered to him.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe national squad named this week for the three one-day international matches against South Africa leaves the country on Tuesday for the tour
which will also feature two Test matches.