After lunch on the 4th day of the 2nd Test between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, Paul Strang the Zimbabwean leg-spinner and 12th man for the Test came onto IRC to answer some questions from those on-line. Suhael Ahmed handled the interview whilst Travis Basevi was the moderator.

travis: [Afridi] How has playing in the English county helped your game?

PS: Its been beneficial that you play so much FC cricket. You get a lot of experience as In Zim we only play 4 FC games a year. Also the conditions are different so one learns to adjust.

travis: [ogol] How does it feel to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar?

PS: Like most good batsmen its a challenge. They look to get after you and dominate proceedings. At times it can be intimidating but you just got to remain calm and back your own ability.

travis: [Mr^Waqar] Mr Strang who was your leg spinning inspiration while growing up..... or did you just bowl because your captain wanted you to? I have also observed that you seem to bowl like Shane Warne.... big leg breaks......

PS: Unfortunately, no heros as we did not have sport on tv when I was young. I picked up the skill when i was young and stuck with it. As for big leg breaks, I just try hard and sometimes it comes out ok.

travis: What are your experiences of touring in Pakistan? The Australians big-noted themselves about how they recently handled the conditions and various 'hardships' in Pak, and even said it was easier than touring India. Is that a fair call? Are they making too much out of it?

PS: Its not easy, and as this is our third trip out here in five years, I can say things are improving all the time. As for the hardships, that is part and parcel of the game. So one must accept it and get on with it. Comparisons to India all depend on the venues.

travis: [FutureBOY] regarding your performances in Sharjah and test win in Pakistan, where would you rank your team ?

PS: This is our best season start since joining test cricket, and hopefully bodes well for the future. As far as rankings go, only when we achieve consistency at this level will I put us up there certainly at this stage we have become a very competitive outfit and will be confident taking on most teams in both ODIs and Tests.

travis: [kdw] How is the situation for spinners in Zimbabwe other than yourself, are you involved in coaching younger players?

PS: Definitely we see coaching as an integral part of developing Zim cricket. The advent of tv and Shane Warne have made a lot of young kids want to be leg spinners. As for the immediate future there is a couple of yougsters with good potential in the wings.

travis: [Olympus] where do u rate youself among the present leg spinners?

PS: Thats a tough question, , I believe its all relative and depends more on your abilty to do the job the team requires of you. I do try but figures wise the others are streets ahead.

travis: a double question related to the same topic:
[kdw] Mr. Strang - does it disappoint you that some countries have been slow to play Zimbabwe in tests? Australia and West Indies spring to mind?
[koi1] what is the zimbabwe cricket board doing to get other tours for the team apart from Pakistan?

PS: Obviously on a personal level one would like to play everyone. However, I realise that there is alot more to organising tours than meets the eye. Hopefully, should out form continue, other countries will want to play us.

travis: [ogol] Paul, being a spinner yourself, I would like your opinion on the controversies involving Murli, Harbhajan and Chauhan's bowling actions.

PS: Being a current player I prefer not to comment on that and other controversies, please.

travis: You've had some remarkable performances in your international career, the Test in Pak 2 years ago when you got a 100 and a 5wi sticks in my mind. What is your personal highlight?

PS: You've named it! However, there are a couple of ODI performances which I am also proud of, most recently SRL in the CC Cup, booking our place in our first ever final.

travis: [feebee] how did you injure your finger - apparently something to do with a stud?!

PS: Know any good studs! :-) It was fluky accident someone stepped on it.

travis: [SportyGal] Just wanted to say hi from South Africa Paul and to ask you if you enjoy playing on the pitches in pakistan - it looks like the seamers are doing quite well - Good luck for the rest of the series

PS: Hi how are going, thanks for the best wishes, unfortunately the seamer friendly pitches mean I am not doing too much playing. You must be very happy on the RSA performance so far. ps... what happened to the rugby team?

travis: followup: so the wickets have been deliberately prepared for seamers? it's not as though Zimbabwe suffers from a lack in good quick bowlers, as Olonga showed them in Peshawar. Perhaps you could take it as a compliment that they wanted to aiming to blunt you?

PS: This might be as a result of the recnt Aus tour where the last 2 tests were draws. We have a well balanced attack so feel comfortable playing on whatever is prepared. Blunting me is a nice thought but their is no lack of quality spinners in their team :-)

travis: [ogol] Any good batsmen on the horizon, a la Murray Goodwin?

PS: Do you mean Zim born players who have lived abroad. There are none that I know, but if you mean young talent, yes, plenty coming up!

travis: [SportyGal] HeHe well I guess 18 must be an unlucky number for the bokke :) - lets hope 5 out of 5 tests aint for the cricket team -:) You hoping for a draw here or to go for the win??

PS: Given the time thats been lost and the first innings deficit, I think a draw is our only viable option. And hey we have won 2 out of 2!!! :-)

travis: [Danish] What do you think about Waqar Younis, Is he still the same as he was a few years ago... I mean his form

PS: He is not as fiery as he used to be but makes up for it with his experience and canniness. Still a hanful on helpful wickets.

travis: [feebee] Why has Huckle not bowled more when Saqlain took so many wickets in the first innings?

PS: Astute question, fee! Despite the fact that Saq got five, the pitch is not turning (he got them more through poor shot selection) and our seamers have been doing a decent job.

travis: [shobi] How are you enjoying cricket in Pakistan so far? Do you think that Pakistani team is under some pressure in the current series?

PS: Being 12th man, I have best view in the house but I'd rather be on the field and yes they are under pressure, but like any job you have your ups and downs, and how they react is probably more important.

PS: I have to go as the game has started and nice chatting to you, cheers.

travis: thanks very much for your time Paul. Good luck with your injury and we hope to see you back in the team soon!

PS: Thank you and bye

On-line chat

Date-stamped : 13 Dec1998 - 10:34