Zimbabwean International Paul Strang was Nottinghamshire’s overseas player during a disappointing 1998 season.
Paul Andrew Strang was born in Bulawayo on 28 July 1970. A right-handed batsman and leg break bowler, he made his First-Class debut for Zimbabwe B in 1992/93 and his Test debut in Harare in October 1994, when he took four Sri Lankan wickets. Later that season, Paul’s brother Bryan was capped for the first time, appearing alongside him for Zimbabwe in the 2nd Test against Pakistan at Bulawayo. With Grant and Andy Flower also selected for the game, there was the rare occurrence of two pairs of brothers playing in the same Test side.
Strang became a regular Zimbabwe International and made his mark in the 1996 World Cup when he took 12 wickets in six games. He had played in 20 Tests and 59 One-Day Internationals when he joined Notts in 1998 and the year before had enjoyed a successful season as the overseas player for Kent, with 63 wickets and 590 runs in First-Class matches.
1998 was a difficult year for Nottinghamshire. Club Chairman Stuart Foster summed up the season as ‘a bitterly disappointing one for all concerned, falling well below most people’s expectations and causing a considerable amount of upheaval along the way.’ The County fell from 13th to 16th in the County Championship and failed to secure a place in the top half of the 40-over AXA Life League, which was to be split into two divisions for 1999. Paul Johnson relinquished the captaincy and at season’s end Cricket Manager Alan Ormrod was replaced by Clive Rice.
Joining a struggling side, Paul Strang was unable to make the hoped-for impact, perhaps finding the green seamers’ pitches at Trent Bridge less than suitable for his bowling. In his 13 First-Class matches for Notts, he took 30 wickets with a best of 5-166 against Kent at Canterbury. With the bat he contributed just 300 runs but rarely went in higher than number 9, a position seen by some as too low for a player who had made a Test hundred against a Pakistan side with an attack led by Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
Strang played in 22 List A fixtures, taking 27 wickets and scoring 246 runs. His best figures came in a rain-hit AXA Life League match against Warwickshire when he took six wickets in 15 balls to finish with 6-32.
When Clive Rice took over as coach for 1999, he decided to put his faith in pace bowling and Strang was bought out of the second year of his contract and replaced by the West Indian Vasbert Drakes.
Paul Strang continued to play International cricket for Zimbabwe until 2001 but did not return to County Cricket. He played a final match at Trent Bridge in the 1999 World Cup, for Zimbabwe against England. His final match in domestic cricket in Zimbabwe came in 2003; he then moved into coaching in Auckland, New Zealand.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 545