PORTELIZABETH (Reuters) – Zimbabwe might concentrate on the limited overs formats to be more competitive in the wake of a devastating defeat by South Africa in their one-off test at St George’s Park on Wednesday.
The bottom-ranked test nation were beaten by an innings and 120 runs inside two days in the inaugural four-day test against their neighbours.
Coach Heath Streak afterwards said Zimbabwe’s infrequent test schedule made it near impossible to compete against top countries like South Africa.
“Maybe there is an argument for us to focus a lot more of our resources and time into short-format cricket to give us ourselves more of a realistic chance of competing at a higher level rather than hanging around near the bottom of the table,” he told reporters.
Streak said if Zimbabwe were to play more tests, they might have to settle for games against the likes of newcomers Afghanistan and Ireland.
“I think if you get a bit of context to the test rankings, with an incentive to get to the next level, with maybe a promotion-relegation type of thing, it’s worth looking at,” he said.
“Obviously we would like to play against the top countries but maybe we could play them at home so we can set up the conditions to favour us.”
Zimbabwe, whose test venues in Bulawayo and Harare are notoriously slow wickets, were bowled out twice in a single day on Wednesday on a bouncy surface where their batsmen had no answer to the pace of the South African attack.
Added to that, they were playing with the pink ball for the first time in their maiden day-night test.
“We knew it was always going to be tough,” added captain Graeme Cremer.
“When we saw how the ball moved around under the lights, we knew it was tough, especially with their attack (and) at the end of the day they were too good for us.
“I don’t think we were overwhelmed by the atmosphere. We were surprised seeing the ball move so much, and we didn’t assess the conditions.”
Zimbabwe next month head to Bangladesh for an ODI tri-series against their hosts and Sri Lanka before moving on to Dubai where they take on Afghanistan.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)