Who was Zimbabwe's first one-day international captain? (12 March 2002)
Making their one-day debut in the 1983 World Cup was tough
enough, but coming up against an Australian side packed with
names like Graham Yallop, Allan Broder, Rod Marsh, Dennis Lilles
and Jeff Thomson in their very first match must have truly seemed
like a case of baptism by fire for the Zimbabwean team.
For Australia, things seemed to be proceeding according to plan
when Lillee and Yallop demolished the top-order of Zimbabwe. But
skipper Duncan Fletcher, coming in at number six, put up doughty
resistance to remain unbeaten on 69 off 84 balls. Along with the
lower middle-order, Fletcher helped Zimbabwe post a total of
239/6 in their allotted 60 overs - a spirited fightback, but was
it one that could test stalwarts like Kepler Wessels, Kim Hughes,
David Hookes and Border?
But Fletcher was not done yet. Bowling his medium-pacers, he took
the first four wickets to fall, returning figures of 4-42 off 11
overs. His fellow trundlers, inspired, bowled with misery, and
despite Wessels' knock of 76 and Marsh's unbeaten 50, Australia
ended their innings on 226/7. Zimbabwe, thus, had notched up a
historical win in their maiden one-dayer, and Fletcher deservedly
bagged the Man of the Match award.
The modern one-day game strategy, built around the concept of
bits-and-pieces players who contribute with bat and ball, is only
now being used in England to good effect. But they have the right
man at the job. Fletcher, now the coach of England, was one of
the one-day genre's original all-rounders, and his first match
proved that conclusively.
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