Former international cricketer and Zimbabwe’s current batting coach, Stuart Matsikenyeri believes his batsmen need to be mentally stronger and stay at the crease much longer to change their fortunes in the second and final Test against Pakistan on Friday.
Zimbabwe could not even last four sessions collectively in the first Test in Harare last week, managing 176 in 59.1 overs and 134 in 46.2 to lose by an innings inside three days.
Moreover, not a single Zimbabwe batsman crossed the 50-run mark, nor could anyone face 100 deliveries in an innings.
“There is no doubt we were poor as a batting group,” Matsikenyeri acknowledged. “It is something the batting group has taken responsibility for. We have been working hard to come back strongly in the second Test.
“We have the quality, we have the guys with the correct techniques. It is a matter of applying ourselves, being mentally stronger, which is an area we have identified wherein we lacked in the first Test.
“We want to polish up a bit with our shot selection, patience at the crease, and generally the ability to stay at the crease a lot longer. We have worked on defending our wickets a lot better than we did in the first Test.”
Matsikenyeri said that the current group of Zimbabwe players was fortunate to have the experience of Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams to rely upon in the middle. A couple of more years under these veterans would be invaluable learning for the youngsters, Matsikenyeri claimed.
The final Test against Pakistan will be Zimbabwe’s fourth in 2021 already, and they will be likely involved in a few more against Bangladesh and Afghanistan later this year. That is plenty for a side that has played just 30 Tests in the past decade.
“We won a Test in Abu Dhabi (against Afghanistan) recently. We are getting more opportunities now to play Test cricket against the better teams, and that is the only way we are going to find our feet.”
While Pakistan are overwhelming favourites to take the series 2-0, Matsikenyeri is confident that Zimbabwe can certainly mount a comeback.
"We came into this series looking to win one Test match at least. Our change room is hurting and we want to come back with a win.”