Zimbabwe’s capitulation against spin in the Dhaka Test gave the team a break of six days before the second Test starting on Monday, but they could be racing against time to drastically improve their techniques of playing and bowling spin.
They lost as many as 18 wickets to spin while their spinners could only pick up two wickets. Disappointing it may have been for the team, but coach Stephen Mangongo has said that as professionals they need to find a way to improve.
“Rome was not built in a day,” Mangongo said when asked if he had enough time to get his batsmen ready for Khulna, where conditions are expected to favour spin again.
“The issue is that you need to have the skill as a batsman on how to play a turning ball,” he said. “Right now, we are in the indoor school where the machine can be switched to the turning mode. Then you practice, until you get it right. Then in the ground, you simulate what you have learnt and cope with the spin.
“We are working very hard to rectify our mistakes and we keep improving. Zimbabwe is a team that is making progress, we are still to develop enough ability to play in the subcontinent. We want to learn to play in Bangladesh, we want to learn to play in the subcontinent, so this is a very good opportunity.”
There is no questioning the effort the team puts during practice. For instance Tinashe Panyangara was seen bowling with his full run-up during both breaks on the third day. On Tuesday, the team went through another gruelling drill that involved sprinting up and down the width of the academy ground adjacent to the Shere Bangla National Stadium. With grey clouds hanging over the ground, they were then moved to the indoor nets.
“Yes, the boys were disappointed, the coaches were disappointed,” Mangongo said. “We didn’t bat very well. We are a professional team. It is our job to improve and get better. Today, in the training, it showed that we are determined to improve. That’s why we have come to training to rectify the mistakes.”
Despite struggling with the bat, the reason the team remained in contention of a win was solely due to the efforts of their pacers. The support from the two spinners never arrived.
“Our first bowlers, I was very pleased with them,” Mangongo said. “Tanashe Panyangara, Tendai Chatara and Elton Chigumbura, who is very familiar here in Bangladesh and is a favourite with the crowd, they bowled very well and I hope they continue their good work. But the fast bowlers are not going to win the game by themselves. They need the spinners.”
Zimbabwe had lost 15 of the 18 wickets to spin from the Press Box End, but Tafadzwa Kamungozi and John Nyumbu, who both bowled from that end at different points, could never extract the bounce the Bangladeshi spinners had. With two more spinners available — Wellington Masakadza and Natsai M’shangwe — Zimbabwe have choices and the decision on who gets picked for Khulna will be taken by the chairman of selectors. Mangongo, however, suggested he was not keen on a change of personnel.
“We have got young spinners and we are going to be very patient with them,” he said. “Spinners, it takes a long time to the top. Unless you are a natural gifted spinner, which Bangladesh have got plenty, but normally spinners take time to get (into) rhythm, to be able to bowl consistently. So we are well aware that our spinners right now are inexperienced and we have to be very patient with them.