During another long interminable break on the 5th day of the
Test between Pakistan and Zimbabwe,
the Zimbabwean off-spinner came onto IRC to answer
some questions from those on-line. During the interview,
also turned up and joined in.
Suhael Ahmed handled the interview whilst Travis Basevi was the moderator.
AndyW: Its nice to be here as we have a break in our game at the
travis: [bakait] Why did you become a spin bowler? Who are the
spinners you looked up to growing up?
AndyW: There is no real reason, I have always bowled spin since I was
ten years old. I had no real heros as a youngster, however, more
recently there are many spin bowlers in world cricket today who's
talents I respect.
travis: [Afridi] Who do u consider the best off spinner in the world
today? the straighter ball Saqlain has, why is it that not many bowlers
can copy that?
AndyW: The two top test spinners must be Saqlain and Murli, and Murli
'cos he turns the ball so much and Saq because of his straighter top
spinner. I am sure many people try ot imitate Saq's ball including
myself However what is important at test level is to consistently bowl
it well to create pressure otherwise it is not a useful variation.
travis: You're one of the few current players in Test Cricket to have
played regularly for Cambridge University. English Uni cricket comes in
for a lot of criticism. Is the standard really that bad, especially
compared to Test cricket?
AndyW: The standard at Cambs varies from year to year as well as
between players in each team. Cambs has produced many test cricketers so
thus is a useful ground for breeding cricketers who want to also get a
degree. It is difficult to compare the standard of Univ cricket to test
cricket because test cricket is the ultimate challenge.
travis: What did you study? And did you complete it or is it on hold
because of getting selected for Zimbabwe?
AndyW: I did a course called MET (Manufacturing Engineering) and yes I
did complete it!
travis: [Creep] What in your opinion has been the contribution of
young players like Olonga, Mbangwa and Johnson to your recent
AndyW: Henry has been around for several years but his recent
performances have been exceptional and he is now bowling with a lot of
confidence. He is a very vital part of our attack. Mbangwa and Johnson
are also playing very well at the moment and are ideal for the wickets
we have encountered recently. It is very useful to have Neil as a very
good front line bat as well.
travis: [Afridi] how many different balls do u have ??? (arm ball
AndyW: I have the obvious variations like arm balls, off spinner and as
well as a couple of other variations I am working on :-)
travis: [KeyserSoze] : What are you're plans for the World Cup ?
Suhael: We have Andy Flower here too if there any questions for him
AndyW: Hopefully I will be included in the squad as we are getting
together a very useful ODI outfit and we intend to upset a few of the
travis: [lawriecol] Andy Flower: explain how hard the batting high in
the order and keeping is and has he ever had to do an "Alec Stewart and
do the lot"
AF: Yes I have had to do the lot for about 2.5 years. At first i
thought it went quite well but after a while it got very tiring mentally
and started afeecting my keeping. It also started affecting my enjoyment
of the game and thus I resigned.
travis: [igloo] Andy Flower: To what specific work/thinking/advice by
Houghton can you attribute Zimbabwe's recent winning streak?
AF: I believe Dave is a very astute coach who understands the game and
its finer points; this coupled with some confident cricket from a side
which is now a more experienced unit, are reasons for out success.
travis: [Ricky1] For both Andys: What is your favourite food?
AF: My fav is just about everything except tripe!
AndyW: Yea thats quite a shock coming from AF! (he hates his food). I
enjoy a good b-b-q wirh a few beers.
travis: [Afridi] For Andy Flower, U have haved faced Waqar, Wasim and
Shoaib, tell us how each r different from each other
AF: I believe Wasim is the best of those bowlers, and Shoaib the
quickest. Wasim has amazing ability to swing the ball either way with no
change of action using the new ball or reverse swing with an older one.
Waq who I daresay has lost a little pace (even tho he yorked
me first ball in the first test) but is still swinging it out with the
new ball and in with the rev swing. He still pitches the ball up more
than most bowlers and thus while taking wickets can also be expensive.
Shoiab's greatest assets at the moment are his genuine speed and stamina
- he seems to be able to bowl at full pace for lengthy periods, although
I wonder how long his body can sustain such a workload.
travis: [bakait] AF: Describe your emotions when you bat with Grant
(Flower). Any fond memories of that 269 run partnership back in 1995?
AF: Well, I would'nt describe either of us as overly emotional. I
do however, enjoy batting with Grant - his concentration tends
to rub off on me and our contrasting styles seem to complement each
other in a partnership. Occasionally he is a little intense for me.
travis: As a followup: what was the dressing room reaction to Grant's
bowling haul in the tour match? (to AW:) has he been giving any tips and
hints to rest of the Zim spinners?
AndyW: Grant bowled with great f and g to claim his career best
figures. This was on a very flat batting wicket and put us into a good
position at that stage to set them a target, for what turned out to be
an exciting game. For the second part of the question; it is very useful
to be touring with three other spinners as we help each other all the
travis: [Salman] To AF: Zimbabwe lost many matches from winning
position, what do you think is the main reason behind that? Is it
because of inexpereince?
AF: Partly, but that excuse is becoming less relevant these days, with
a number of players having played 20 to 30 tests. I think concentration
levels and desire play major parts in those instances.
AF+AW: Last questions please as we have to go to lunch
travis: [igloo] For both: How would you react if an affirmative
action directive for including more cricketers of colour were introduced
AF+AW: We both believe that selection should always be done on merit,
with colour playing no part in the decision. We believe any bias towards
colour is wrong and should not be justified by anybody.
AF+AW: Its been nice chatting to all of you. Thank you
travis: Thank you Andy and Andy, good luck with the rest of the tour