The Indians would be happy to get moving in the tri-series with a facile win against Zimbabwe though from the days of our Test experience here, the wicket seems to have slowed down. Our guys call Harare a slower version of Gabba where there is a little assistance and movement to the bowlers. It is a kind of pitch where those who swing stand a better chance to succeed than purely seam bowlers.
That makes us look forward to the next game against India, a side we would most probably meet in the finals. Their fast bowlers have done exceptionally well as a unit and it is something similar to what's happening to us in New Zealand.
James Franklin swings it well and we have a nice balance in our pace department. Irfan Pathan and Ashish Nehra, not to speak of the likes of Zaheer Khan, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Ajit Agarkar, give the Indians a good crop of impressive young bowlers. They can be exceptionally dangerous in these circumstances and I have a feeling whoever bowls better and tighter, would hold the edge.
Purely from a personal point of view, I would like to push home the advantage I have gained over the Indians from the first game. I look at my job as to try and do better than the Indians, to outperform the likes of Nehra, Pathan and Agarkar. It's a challenge I look forward to.
It all freshens up the pleasant memory of the Bulawayo game where we knew from the start that taking good care of the top three Indian batsmen, Virender Sehwag, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, could keep them under pressure.
We realised that coming from low wickets of the sub-continent, they could find it difficult to adjust to these conditions. So bowling short-pitched deliveries was the obvious choice. We definitely tried to do it against Ganguly, as well as against Sehwag who can be a devastating batsman if he is afforded the width. It is the same when the ball is pitched up to him.
It feels good that success is coming to me with the new ball for in the Test matches against Zimbabwe, I bowled a fair deal with the older ball. In a way it was good that I played Tests before the one-dayers for it upped my confidence and improved my rhythm. I am able to swing it a lot more and that is most welcome.
It has been the kind of return I have been hoping for in international arena. There are a lot of things which I am now doing differently, including my action and approach to the game. No longer I strive to be a tearaway bowler. I am a lot smarter bowler who can bowl reasonably quick when I want to but I don't need to do it all the time.
Previously I was an emotional bowler who would just be fired up with the ball in his hand and try to bowl as hard as I could. Sustaining such methods throughout was a tough act to follow and sure the harder I tried, the more I opened myself to injury.
Now I am smarter and can switch to speed because my energy levels are better spaced. It is also a good protection against injury.
I have mixed emotions to New Zealand's light Test schedule in the next few months. The run of one-day internationals could allow me to settle into a nice groove and when it is time for the Tests against the West Indies and South Africa next year, six games in a row, I could be better prepared.
Every cricketer looks forward to Tests and I am no different. However, for a bowler returning from injury, it is important he is not over-bowled all too quickly. Frankly, I am just glad to be back on the field.
It would be all too easy and stereotype for me to declare that I hate batsmen and perhaps blood on the pitch is not too bad an idea. But that's not the truth and besides, the Indians and Zimbabweans are truly very nice fellows. It is just that I am very competitive with the ball in my hand and try to do as well as I can for my team.
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