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Cricket Manager


Zimbabwe A manager Kish Gokal was deeply involved in the recent tour of Zimbabwe by Namibia. He talks to ZCO about that tour.

The CFX Academy was scheduled to host a tour here by the United Arab Emirates, but it didn't materialize. As a result we had to look for something else, and having been to Namibia myself earlier this year for the Six Nations tournament, I contacted the officials, who were quite keen to come down with the national side, in preparation obviously for the World Cup.

So a tour was arranged from 28 September to 6 October, including a game against the academy, one against a ZCU President's XI and three against a Zimbabwe A side. So that was how I was first involved, and I was also involved as manager of the Zimbabwe A side and the President's XI.

I saw the Namibian team also in the Six Nations tournament, and obviously they don't have as big a base of players as we have. Some of their players are quite useful but obviously they need experience, now they have qualified for the World Cup, and they are playing Zimbabwe in the first game, here in Harare.

We used a total of 27 players in matches against Namibia, not counting the Academy match, and we did pretty well. We won the series four-nil, losing only the President's XI match. I think our boys played well, and the conditions were good throughout, except for the last match where the pitch was a bit difficult, but it was the same for both sides. But we came out on top.

Murgatroyd was Namibia's top player and he batted pretty well throughout. He was the mainstay of the batting; most of the others just scored in the twenties and thirties, but Murgatroyd had scores of 73 and a sixty. They have a couple of useful bowlers: Kotze bowled reasonably well, as did van Vuuren. The two Burgers bowled pretty well, as did Lenny Louw. He began as their player-coach, bowling left-arm spin, and he bowled pretty well throughout the tour. After the first match they were joined by their new coach, Douggie Brown from Warwickshire.

For Zimbabwe A, a whole host of players did well: Guy Croxford, Craig Evans, Barney Rogers, Brian Murphy - most of them did well in the batting. Barney Rogers had two or three very good innings, and Travis Friend scored 85 in one match. On the bowling side we had a whole host of people who bowled: Travis Friend was quite impressive, as was Brian Murphy.

All the non-Test teams that have qualified for the World Cup will struggle a bit. But it will be good experience for them. The tour itself was well organized and I think the Namibians themselves were quite happy with how things went.