By Kevin Mapasure
ZIMBABWE batting coach Stuart Matsikenyeri has primed his batters to come back stronger in the second Test that starts at Harare Sports Club this morning after a poor show in the first encounter where the home side eventually lost by an innings and 134 runs inside three days.
They will be without the experienced duo of captain Sean Williams and middle order batter Craig Ervine again as they were both ruled out through injury, but welcome back emerging star Wesley Madhevere, who is back in contention after missing the first match.
Matsikenyeri said they used the last few days to work on their shortcomings and was hopeful of a strong performance, which could set them up for a comeback win.
He said there was enough talent at the technical team’s disposal, adding that he expected the team to improve with each match.
“No doubt that we were poor as a batting group in the first Test and we didn’t do ourselves any favour to put the team in a position to compete, so it’s something that the batting group has taken responsibility of,” he said.
“What we have done in the last few days is to work hard so that we can come back strong in the second Test. We have gone down in one Test. It doesn’t mean that we can’t come back. Obviously they are on a high, but we want to come back with a win.”
Matsikenyeri said he wanted to see his charges apply themselves better going forward.
“I believe we have the quality and we have got the guys with the technique. It’s a matter of applying ourselves and being mentally stronger which is an area we identified as having lacked in the first Test,” he said.
“We also want to polish up on our shot selection and generally, just the ability to stay on the crease for a lot longer, that’s what Test cricket is all about.”
Matsikenyeri said the team would have more opportunities in red ball cricket than they have had in the last few years.
“We will have a lot more opportunities, that’s what we want. This second Test will be our fourth in the year and potentially, we will have more against Bangladesh and Afghanistan. That’s what we need for the guys to continuously get exposed. As long as we have the experienced guys such as Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams and Regis Chakabva, they will help the youngsters, who have the talent and skill but require more game time.”
With opening batsman Prince Msvaure having joined the long injury list, Tarisai Musakanda should link up with Kevin Kasuza at the top of the batting line-up.
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