ZIMBABWE FIRST-CLASS CRICKET IN 1987/88Captain: John Traicos
This season saw Zimbabwe slip slightly further down the slope towards possible oblivion, but they were still capable of springing the occasional surprise. One serious problem was that the basic core of players that had served the country since Independence was growing older and not being replaced by sufficient youngsters of ability.
Another was the problem of finding quality opposition, and there was a feeling that Zimbabwe was not receiving enough positive encouragement from the Test-playing nations. Negotiations were undertaken with Sri Lanka in the expectation that they would send out their full Test team to Zimbabwe in March, but they eventually provided only a B side. It was hoped that this might be replaced by a brief tour by the full Australian team, but this request was also rejected.
The season itself began earlier than had ever been the case before in Zimbabwe, due to the need to give the team quality practice before the World Cup. Again Bob Radford in Sydney stepped in and arranged for the New South Wales state team, captained by Dirk Wellham, to tour Zimbabwe. Two first-class matches were played, both being drawn; in the first, a late-order revival caused the advantage to swing from Zimbabwe to New South Wales, while in the second the placid pitch at Harare Sports Club prevented either team from even manufacturing a finish in three days. Six one-day matches were played in preparation for the World Cup, and New South Wales won the series 5-1, although 4-2 might have been a fairer result.
In the World Cup itself, played in India and Pakistan (although Zimbabwe played only in the former), Zimbabwe enjoyed two fairly close matches against New Zealand, with a brilliant 142 by Dave Houghton in the first encounter being the highlight. But two convincing defeats by both India and Australia resulted in their coming away without a point. Zimbabwe were further handicapped by the fact that none of the team had played in India before and found it very difficult to adjust to the conditions there. Injury and illness to key players handicapped an already embattled team.
On their return, they were disappointed to find that their only opposition was to be Sri Lanka B, captained by former Test batsman Roy Dias. This perhaps contributed partly to their failure to overpower the tourists as they felt they were capable of doing, but the Sri Lankans themselves provided some strong opposition. As was the case against New South Wales, two first-class matches were played, and again both were drawn. The first was fairly evenly balanced but Zimbabwe quite lost the initiative in the second; there was insufficient time for the tourists to force a victory. Again, three days on placid pitches made results unlikely, and Zimbabwe had at this stage played 20 consecutive first-class matches without a victory. A match against Zimbabwe B was also adjudged first-class by the Sri Lankan authorities.
The five-match one-day series was very close, and in the end Sri Lanka's 3-2 victory came thanks only to the performances of their player of the tour, the tall all-rounder Athula Samarasekera. 'Big Sam' had a magnificent tour with the bat, scoring 868 runs in all matches and being dismissed for under 50 only twice; his accurate bowling was also invaluable. He played a major part in all the one-day matches with both bat and ball, except the first. Sadly, he was never to make a significant mark in Test cricket.
In a restricted and in some ways depressing first-class season, Dave Houghton again finished as leading run-scorer, with 262 at an average of 29.11. Andy Pycroft, with 234 in the three matches he played, headed the averages at 58.50, but he was growing disillusioned with Zimbabwe's inability to find Test-class opposition and announced his retirement before the start of the following season. Two young batsmen did make good progress and show promise: the burly opening batsman Darrell Goodwin and the middle-order batsman Trevor Penney. Sadly, both would be lost to Zimbabwean cricket before Test status was gained.
Only two bowlers managed even to take 10 wickets on the Harare Sports Club pitch: John Traicos (average 30.60) and Eddo Brandes (average 44.80). Peter Rawson had a lean season, suffering an injury against New South Wales which troubled him throughout the season, especially in the World Cup.
In the World Cup itself, Houghton finished top of the batting, mainly due to his one outstanding innings, scoring 226 runs (average 37.66). He was followed by Pycroft (174 runs at 34.80). None of the bowlers enjoyed much success; Traicos took most wickets (6 at 36.33) but his economy rate of 3.75 runs per over was improved upon by only three regular bowlers during the tournament.
Temporarily Zimbabwe regained the services of Kevin Curran; after protracted negotiations between the ZCU and the government, he was allowed to retain his dual nationality, and therefore maintain his qualification for Gloucestershire, and also play for Zimbabwe. He was unable to bowl against New South Wales, though, due to a back injury, and in the World Cup he was a disruptive influence and a liability in the dressing room. Finally he demanded much more money for his future services than the ZCU could possibly afford, and he was never to represent his country again.
NEW SOUTH WALES TOUR
(1ST ODI) At Harare Sports Club; 5 September. ZIMBABWE 162 (A H Omarshah 42, P W E Rawson 57*; P L Taylor 3/23, R J Tucker 3/32). NEW SOUTH WALES 163/4 (T H Bayliss 30, M E Waugh 93*). New South Wales won by six wickets.
(2ND ODI) At Harare Sports Club; 6 September. ZIMBABWE 172/9 (A H Omarshah 50, M A Meman 38*; R J Tucker 4/30). NEW SOUTH WALES 176/4 (S M Small 33, G C Dyer 52*). New South Wales won by six wickets.
At Harare Sports Club; 8, 9, 10 September. ZIMBABWE 325 (R D Brown 46, A J Pycroft 104, G A Paterson 59; M R Whitney 3/67, D R Gilbert 3/68) and 106/5 (P L Taylor 3/44). NEW SOUTH WALES 404 (M E Waugh 61, M D O'Neill 45, D M Wellham 36, G C Dyer 35, G R J Matthews 72, P L Taylor 105*; E A Brandes 4/103, A C I Lock 3/88). Match drawn.
(3RD ODI) At Bulawayo Athletic Club; 12 September. NEW SOUTH WALES 201/6 (M E Waugh 47, D M Wellham 57, G R J Matthews 35*). ZIMBABWE 202/4 (R D Brown 71, A H Omarshah 33, D L Houghton 34*, A C Waller 36*). Zimbabwe won by six wickets.
(4TH ODI) At Bulawayo Athletic Club; 13 September. NEW SOUTH WALES 243/8 (M D O'Neill 66, G R Robertson 34*, G F Lawson 39). ZIMBABWE 239 (R D Brown 39, W R James 31, D L Houghton 67; M R Whitney 3/31). New South Wales won by 4 runs.
(5TH ODI) At Mutare Sports Club; 16 September. ZIMBABWE 186 (W R James 57, A J Pycroft 31, D L Houghton 39; M R Whitney 4/13). NEW SOUTH WALES 190/6 (T H Bayliss 53, D M Wellham 57*). New South Wales won by four wickets.
At Harare Sports Club; 19, 21, 22 September. NEW SOUTH WALES 231/4 dec (S M Small 78, M A Taylor 44, M E Waugh 42, M D O'Neill 38) and 238/5 dec (G R J Matthews 41, G C Dyer 49, P L Taylor 71; A J Traicos 4/77). ZIMBABWE 169/4 dec (A J Pycroft 57*, D L Houghton 54) and 161/5 (A J Pycroft 44, A C Waller 39*; G R J Matthews 3/61). Match drawn.
At Harare Sports Club; 20 September. ZIMBABWE 222/7 (A H Omarshah 98, A J Pycroft 32, A C Waller 30). NEW SOUTH WALES 225/3 (M A Taylor 52, T H Bayliss 104*). New South Wales won by seven wickets.
WORLD CUP IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN
At Hyderabad (India); 10 October. NEW ZEALAND 242/7 (M C Snedden 64, M D Crowe 72, J J Crowe 31). ZIMBABWE 239 (D L Houghton 142, I P Butchart 54). New Zealand won by 3 runs.
At Madras; 13 October. AUSTRALIA 235/9 (G R Marsh 62, A R Border 67, S R Waugh 45). ZIMBABWE 139 (K M Curran 30; S P O'Donnell 4/39). Australia won by 96 runs.
At Bombay; 17 October. ZIMBABWE 135 (A J Pycroft 61; M Prabhakar 4/19). INDIA 136/2 (K Srikkanth 31, S M Gavaskar 43, D B Vengsarkar 46*). India won by eight wickets.
At Calcutta; 23 October. ZIMBABWE 227/5 (A H Omarshah 41, K J Arnott 51, D L Houghton 50, A J Pycroft 52*). NEW ZEALAND 228/6 (M D Crowe 58, J J Crowe 88*). New Zealand won by four wickets.
At Ahmedabad; 26 October. ZIMBABWE 191/7 (K J Arnott 60, A C Waller 39). INDIA 194/3 (S M Gavaskar 50, N S Sidhu 55, D B Vengsarkar 33*, Kapil Dev 41*). India won by seven wickets.
At Cuttack; 30 October. AUSTRALIA 266/5 (D C Boon 93, G R Marsh 37, D M Jones 58*, M R J Veletta 43). ZIMBABWE 196/6 (A H Omarshah 32, A C Waller 38, A J Pycroft 38). Australia won by 70 runs.
SRI LANKA B TOUR
(50 overs) At Harare Sports Club; 13 March. YOUNG ZIMBABWE 105 (K J Arnott 35; R G C E Wijesuriya 3/15). SRI LANKA B 109/1 (D C Wickremasinghe 32*, A M de Silva 31, M A R Samarasekera 30*). Sri Lanka B won by nine wickets.
(Not first-class) At Harare South Country Club; 15, 16, 17 March. SRI LANKA B 282/3 dec (M A R Samarasekera 52, D S G Bulankulame 67, H P Tillakaratne 76*, R L Dias 86) and 204/4 dec (D S G Bulankulame 34, M A R Samarasekera 71, U S H Karnain 40*; D F Dolphin 4/78). ZIMBABWE COUNTRY DISTRICTS 226 (R Baines 33, I P Butchart 48, A D Elliott 85; N L K Ratnayake 4/33, M A W R Madurasinghe 3/72) and 26/1. Match drawn.
(50 overs) At Harare Sports Club; 19 March. SRI LANKA B 253/4 (D C Wickremasinghe 30, M A R Samarasekera 146, A M de Silva 54). YOUNG ZIMBABWE 158/9 (E A Essop-Adam 30, D B Lake 42*). Sri Lanka B won by 95 runs.
(1ST ODI) At Harare Sports Club; 20 March. SRI LANKA B 145/9 (H P Tillakaratne 58; E A Brandes 3/37). ZIMBABWE 145 (E A Brandes 35; R G C E Wijesuriya 3/14). Sri Lanka B won by virtue of losing fewer wickets.
At Harare Sports Club; 22, 23, 24 March. ZIMBABWE B 108 (D G Goodwin 33, T L Penney 47*; K I W Wijegunewardena 3/20, R G C E Wijesuriya 3/10) and 244 (D G Goodwin 40, D L Houghton 126, D B Lake 30; M V Deshapriya 4/60). SRI LANKA B 356/5 dec (D C Wickremasinghe 69, A M de Silva 76, B R Jurangpathy 60, R L Dias 34, H P Tillakaratne 61*; L L de Grandhomme 3/117). Sri Lanka B won by an innings and 4 runs.
(2ND ODI) At Bulawayo Athletic Club; 26 March. SRI LANKA B 226/5 (A M de Silva 59, M A R Samarasekera 95). ZIMBABWE 228/8 (D L Houghton 60, E A Brandes 51, P W E Rawson 40*). Zimbabwe won by two wickets.
(3RD ODI) At Bulawayo Athletic Club; 27 March. ZIMBABWE 219/7 (D L Houghton 30, A C Waller 67, P W E Rawson 33*; M A R Samarasekera 3/54). SRI LANKA B 211 (D S G Bulankulame 44, M A R Samarasekera 61; E A Brandes 3/30). Zimbabwe won by 8 runs.
(50 overs) At Mutare Sports Club; 30 March. SRI LANKA B 284/5 (D S G Bulankulame 33, R L Dias 59, M A R Samarasekera 50, H P Tillaka-ratne 41, S K Ranasinghe 44*). ZIMBABWE B 271 (K J Arnott 70, D L Houghton 104; H P Tillakaratne 3/33). Sri Lanka B won by 13 runs.
At Harare Sports Club; 1, 2, 4 April. SRI LANKA B 262 (M A R Samarasekera 77, R L Dias 39, B R Jurangpathy 46, U S H Karnain 35; E A Brandes 5/76) and 138/6 (A M de Silva 31, H P Tillakaratne 38*; E A Brandes 3/31). ZIMBABWE 229/8 dec (D G Goodwin 66, P W E Rawson 72*; R G C E Wijesuriya 6/102). Match drawn.
(4TH ODI) At Harare Sports Club; 3 April. ZIMBABWE 227/8 (A J Pycroft 69, P W E Rawson 48*). SRI LANKA B 230/1 (A M de Silva 87*, M A R Samarasekera 111*). Sri Lanka B won by nine wickets.
At Harare Sports Club; 6, 7, 8 April. ZIMBABWE 231 (K J Arnott 64, D L Houghton 40, P W E Rawson 34; N L K Ratnayake 3/44, R G C E Wijesuriya 4/83) and 164/3 (K J Arnott 40*, G K Bruk-Jackson 33, T L Penney 67*). SRI LANKA B 380/5 dec (M A R Samarasekera 79, H P Tillaka-ratne 128*, A G D Wickremasinghe 103*; A J Traicos 3/76). Match drawn.
(5TH ODI) At Harare Sports Club; 10 April. SRI LANKA B 218/7 (M A R Samarasekera 94, R L Dias 34, S K Ranasinghe 46*; M P Jarvis 3/31). ZIMBABWE 213/8 (D G Goodwin 54, T L Penney 44*, E A Brandes 32; M A R Samarasekera 4/44). Sri Lanka B won by 5 runs.
It is intended in the future to produce full scorecards, and also much more information about all cricket in Rhodesia during this season. At present, the next entry in this section is for 1988/89