Paul Strang: 11 interesting things to know about the former Zimbabwean cricketer

Born July 28, 1970, Paul Andrew Strang is the finest leg-spinner produced by Zimbabwe and was more than a handy batsman. Apart from his prowess with the bat and ball, Strang was a livewire on the field. He played in between 1994 to 2001 for Zimbabwe and is one of the few bowlers from the country to have claimed a 10-wicket haul in a Test. On his birthday, Abhishek Kumar pens down 11 interesting facts about the former Zimbabwean cricketer.

1. Cricketing family: Strang s younger brother Bryan also represented Zimbabwe at international level along with him. His father Ronald Strang was an umpire in First-Class cricket and was also a TV umpire for Zimbabwe’s two Tests in 1994-95.

2. Coached by Duncan Fletcher: During his initial days, Strang was coached by former Zimbabwean cricketer and renowned coach Duncan Fletcher at the University of Cape Town.

3. Composed Test and ODI debut: Strang made his Test debut at Harare against Sri Lanka in which he chipped three wickets in the first innings and conceded 65 runs. He didn’t get a chance to bowl in the second innings. His One-Day International (ODI) debut came at Perth against Australia and he went on to claim the wicket of David Boon. He impressed with 10-1-30-1.

4. 1996 World Cup: In the 1996 World Cup, Strang was among the leading wicket-takers in the tournament, with 12 wickets in six matches at 16. Overall, he was the third highest wicket-taker of the tournament after Anil Kumble (15 wickets) and Waqar Younis (13 wickets).

4. His only Test century: Besides being a good leggie, Strang was also a decent batsman and has a century to his name in Tests. In October 1996, at Sheikhpura Stadium, Strang registered his maiden Test century while batting at number 8. His century was overshadowed by Wasim Akram‘s unbeaten 257. He also claimed a fifer in the Test, that ended in a draw.

5. Second Zimbabwean to take 10-wicket haul in Tests: After making his comeback to the Test side, Strang claimed his maiden 10-wicket haul in Tests against New Zealand at Bulawayo in September 2000. The effort went in vain as Zimbabwe lost the match.. Strang became the second Zimbabwean cricketer to take 10-wicketsin a Test, first being another leg-spinner, Adam Huckle. Later, Raymond Price did the same.

6. Tragic end to his international career: After the memorable Test against New Zealand, Strang could only play three more Tests due to a chronic injury to the muscles in his right hand.

7. County stint: Strang played two seasons of county cricket for Kent in 1997 and for Nottinghamshire in 1998 as an overseas player.

8. Most difficult batsman: In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Strang said New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns was a very difficult batsman to bowl at.

10. Want to change a rule: Strang has often said that he would like the change rule of giving not out to a LBW appeal when the ball is pitched outside leg but going towards the stumps.

11. Coach: In August 2009, Strang joined Auckland as high performance coach and after six months in February 2009, he was appointed as the coach of the side. He continued to coach Auckland Aces side and is currently residing in New Zealand.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with Criclife.com. He can be followed on Twitter @abhik2593 and on Facebook at abhicricket.kumar)