Interview with Murray Goodwin and Neil Johnson

Murray Goodwin and Neil Johnson from Zimbabwe's World Cup squad dropped in for an internet chat session on 27 April 1999 from Harare before a practice session with the rest of the team. Fiona Butchart assisted the players at the keyboard while Rick Eyre was the moderator.

Rick: I'd like to welcome Murray Goodwin to the channel.. one of the leading players in Zimbabwe's World Cup campaign shortly. We expect that Neil Johnson will be joining us in a short while as well.

Rick: Welcome to #cricket, Murray

M Goodwin: Hi

Rick: a few questions about the coming World Cup to begin:

Raj ( asks: Do you guys think that Zimbabwe may create a flutter in the World Cup 99 ?

M Goodwin: I think that we have the potential to, and hopefully we can play to that potential and prove to the public that we aren't the pushover we used to be

anurag chakravarty ( asks: What special preparations are u doing to reach your goal (in the World Cup)? what are u emphasizing on?

M Goodwin: I think the special preperation we are doing is batting on greenish wickets where the ball is moving around a bit. We are expecting it to be damp and therefore more conducive to bowlers.

N Johnson: Because we don't have any superstars we are emphasising team work where everyone knows their role to play

Dizzy: Ian Chappell reckons you guys were unlucky to be placed in group A, along with England, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka. Do you agree that this is the harder of the two groups?

N Johnson: We're lucky that we don't have to play against Pakistan and Australia

M Goodwin: it will be tough in our pool though

dodger: Without giving too much away, have you been working on any new "revolutionary" strategy to give yourselves an edge, as Sri Lanka did last WC ?

N Johnson: We are working really hard on our fielding

Dizzy: Are there any teams you will try particularly hard to beat... any "grudge matches"?

N Johnson: The main sides we will be trying to beat are South Africa and England, but they are all important

RiDgE: What strategies do you have against Jayasuriya & Tendulkar?

M Goodwin: With the ball moving around a bit they hopefully won't be as prolific as they are in the sub continent.

Khalil ( asks: To both: Who are going to be the players to watch out for in the World Cup?

M Goodwin: do you mean in our side or generally?

Rick: I think that is meant to be generally, as in, other sides

M Goodwin: Jacques Kallis is probably the most valuable cricketer in the world today, Ricky Ponting, and Jonty Rhodes

Khalil ( asks: And who do you think the 4 semi-finalists will be and ultimately who will win it?

M Goodwin: Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and then out of New Zealand, Zimbabwe and India. Either South Africa or Australia

jagadish: What kind of pressure do you face while playing at #3 for a fledgling batting side like Zimbabwe, especially in tests. How about in One dayers ?

M Goodwin: Generally pressure is everywhere you bat in the order. In tests I'm usually in within the first five overs which can be destressing at times. In one day games pressure fluctuates as you always have to consider the run rate. But I am enjoying the challenge of playing against the best

jagadish: What do you attribute Zimbabwe's recent one day and test successes to ? Increase in batting and bowling talent or just plain old hard work ?

M Goodwin: I think it helps having the backup bowling of Neil and we have found a reasonably good balance in the squad,especially if our opening bowlers are bowling to their potential ie Henry Olonga, he is extremely fast but can be erratic

CricketMan: Murray, how do you find the standard of Zimbabwean cricket compared to Australian cricket?

M Goodwin: There is no comparison as we have to chose our national team from seven first grade teams

aditi ( asks: to murray goodwin: what made you decide to play for zimbabwe?

M Goodwin: I was getting frustrated being in and out of the Western Australian team as my last season I averaged 61, but only played the last half of the games. I was doing well in grade cricket and wasn't chosen when I was told I was next in line and to keep making runs. I had a letter from the Zimbabwe Cricket Union asking if I would like to come back and take the place of David Houghton who is now our coach and wanted to retire. I thought it was the only way to play international cricket as I didn't feel I was getting enough opportunities with WA as we had a strong batting line-up.

Dizzy: are you bitter at all towards the waca?

M Goodwin: Not at all, I still have some very good friends who they are playing for them and now Australia, and I would love to if I had the opportunity to go back and resume playing for WA if they wanted me

Lee Shaw ( asks: Has your move from state cricket to Test cricket been better than what you expected and also did you like playing cricket in England?

M Goodwin: I think I've been a little bit more succesful than I expected, but in saying that I haven't excelled when I've had certain opportunities. It is pleasing to know that I can handle the international bowling this far and hopefully it will continue for the WC and the future. I did enjoy playing in England as I played league cricket and enjoyed the social scene, but the weather did get me down

Simon Saarikko ( asks: How hard was the adjustment from playing on Australian pitches (more so in Perth) to playing in Zimbabwe?

M Goodwin: Zimbabwe pitches aren't quite as fast, but still have good bounce

Dave Bebb ( asks: Do you keep in touch with the Western Warriors players? Is there any particular Warriors whose form you follow the progress of ?

M Goodwin: I do keep in touch with the WA players, but Adam Gilchrist and Damien Martyn are two close friends who are good to catch up with and have a beer on the International circuit

Dave Bebb ( asks: Like you once did (Do you play cricket in Europe in the off season?), Western Warrior Mark Atkinson is going The Netherlands for a season to play for Excelsior'20. Is there any advise that you would give to him about the playing conditions there and the quality of the Dutch League?

M Goodwin: Mark has played at Excelsior before, and that's how I got to play there and I had a lot to live up to after he performed pretty well

Yovin Jaimangal ( asks: Murray, who were your favourite players when you were young?

M Goodwin: Allan Border, Dennis Lillee and I really admire David Boon's courage

Message from Hello Murray, Did you have any trouble adjusting to life back in Zimbabwe after your time in Australia? Do you have a job outside cricket? And finally, is there much rivarly between you and former Australian Academy teammate Ricky Ponting?

M Goodwin: It was no trouble to adjust back in Zimbabwe as I have a lot of family and friends here and I had been passing through on my way to the UK for a few years. I am currently just a professional cricketer and will be looking at something in the future Myself and Ricky are very close friends and are always keeping an eye on each other's performances. Unlike Ricky my eyes won't hit many guys fists (touch wood!) so he tells me.

Daran Soondarsingh ( asks: Recently the Zimbabwean team seems to be doing well in both the Test and ODI arena. What do you attribute to the team`s improvement and how do you rate Allistair Campbell as a test captain compared to the other test captains and to Dave Houghton?

M Goodwin: The team's been doing well because the players are more professional in their approach and their dedication. It was just a matter of releasing the talent of most of the players. I think Alistair is a sound captain as he doesn't have great players that he can call on to change the game as most test playing countries have one or two of these, if not more. Dave Houghton is a good technical coach, but I think his man management needs to improve

Dizzy: How do you rate your chances in the upcoming series against Australia?

M Goodwin: This will be a true test for us as Australia are the test champions I believe. We will obviously be underdogs but playing against these good players will hopefully improve us.

fardeen zahed ( asks: What did you guys think of the Bangladesh cricket team when you played them last month?

M Goodwin: I think Bangladesh have some good cricketers, some with a lot of talent. It is just a matter of polishing up their act and becoming more professional as there are too many mistakes being made which are quite basic. I think this is due to pressure, especially in One Day Internationals.

Rick: You also met Kenya in that same series - and will face them in Group A of the World Cup. What were your thoughts about the Kenyan team?

M Goodwin: Kenya won't be a pushover as they have a sound bowling attack and a couple of good batters but obviously we are quietly confident of beating them.

Dogmac ( asks: Who are the future Zimbabwe stars?

M Goodwin: Dirk Viljoen and Andy Blignaut.

RiDgE: Who according to u is the current: best batsman, best bowler & best fielder?

Rick: in the world that is

M Goodwin: Best batsman is Tendulkar, best bowler is Wasim Akram or Javagal Srinath and the best fielder is Jonty Rhodes

CricketMan: What are your goals beyond the World Cup?

M Goodwin: To keep performing successfully for Zimbabwe and hopefully beating some of the top sides like Australia and South Africa

Rick: ok.. we have to leave it there

Rick: Murray has to return to practice and Neil has already left

M Goodwin: Thanks a lot

Rick: I would like to thank Murray Goodwin and Neil Johnson for spending the time with us today and thanks to all who sent in questions.. apologies again that we couldn't ask them all in the time available. Best to luck to Zimbabwe in the World Cup :-)

On-line chat