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WI aim to pile on misery for Zimbabwe

West Indies begin a long African campaign on Tuesday when they take on one of the weakest ever Zimbabwe Test teams.

india Updated: Nov 03, 2003 21:55 IST

Brian Lara's West Indies begin a long African campaign here on Tuesday when they take on one of the weakest ever Zimbabwe Test teams.

Zimbabwe have lost many players through emigration, political dissent, retirements and injuries in the last few months and they all been available, only a few of the present team would get a place.

On paper the first of the two Tests - the second will be played in Bulawayo next week - will be a one-sided affair.

It will be the first time in 15 years that the Flower brothers Andy and Grant have not been available.

Andy, together with fast bowler Henry Olonga, fled the country after condemning president Robert Mugabe's policies, calling them the death of democracy during the World Cup earlier this year.

All-rounder Guy Whittall has quit the game for unstated reasons while spinner Brian Murphy left the country after being dropped for the England tour earlier this year.

Hamilton Masakadsa, whose century against West Indies in 1991 was the youngest so far by a debutant is in South Africa furthering his education. Alistair Campbell was dropped for the World Cup and took up broadcasting while captain Heath Streak's new ball partner Douglas Hondo remains unfit following a groin injury.

And were it not for contract squabbles Zimbabwe would still have the services of Murray Goodwin, who averaged over 80 for Sussex in the last English county season and will not be playing for Zimbabwe again.

Only five Zimbabwe players with considerable Test experience will take the field on Tuesday - Streak, Stuart Carlisle, Craig Wishart, Andy Blignaut and Trevor Gripper.

None of the Zimbabwe batsmen have scored 2,000 Test runs and none have an average over 26.

By contrast, West Indies have six batsmen averaging more than 30.

Lara will add to his 8,404 Test runs, while Shivnarine Chanderpaul has notched up over 4,000.

Daren Ganga and Marlon Samuels showed terrific form against a Zimbabwe "A" side in the tour warm-up match which ended on Saturday as did pacemen Jerome Taylor with 10 wickets and Vasbert Drakes.

West Indies look formidable.

They have concerns about the form of Wavell Hinds and Chris Gayle, who got only 51 runs between them in four innings against the home "A" side, but they, and Zimbabwe, will remember Gayle's 175 at Bulawayo two years ago.

Both sides will also recall Zimbabwe's record breaking total of 559 against the West Indies in 2001.

Zimbabwe: Heath Streak (capt), Tatenda Taibu, Stuart Carlisle, Craig Wishart, Trevor Gripper, Vusi Sibanda (debut), Mark Vermeulen, Stuart Matsikenyere, Blessing Mahwire, Andy Blignaut, Ray Price. 12th man: Jordaan Nicolle.

West Indies (from): Brian Lara (capt), Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Daren ganga, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarene Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh Jnr, Omari Banks, Vasbert Drakes, Jerome Taylor, Corey Colleymore, Fidel Edwards, Mervyn Dillon and Ravi Rampaul.

First Published: Nov 03, 2003 11:27 IST