Zimbabwe to use experienced players

ZIMBABWE national team selectors are likely to unleash their most experienced team today for the first of two Twenty20 (T20) match series against Pakistan at the Harare Sports Club, hoping to get off with a confidence-boosting winning start.

KEVIN MAPASURE
SENIOR SPORTS REPORTER

Chairman of selectors Givemore Makoni yesterday said that they were looking at fielding the strongest and most experienced side.
This would mean that the top batsmen — Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza and captain Brendan Taylor — could occupy the top three positions with Malcom Waller, Elton Chigumbura and Sean Williams sharing the middle order.

“We have so far named a 15-member squad, but we will pick 11 players whom we feel have the experience to deliver a win against a strong Pakistan side,” Makoni said.

The team that will play will only be named this morning.
In the bowling department the seam pair of Brian Vitori and Tendai Chatara could share the new ball. The departure of Kyle Jarvis could open up space for Shingi Masakadza who is decent with the bat.

A clash with Pakistan will be no mean task. They have a line-up that contains captain Mohammad Hafeez, spin wizard Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Irfan.

Taylor yesterday told reporters at a Press conference that his team was ready to take up the challenge of trying to upstage the top side.
“We have been clamouring to play against top sides, regardless of our performance against India. I think we can take a few positives out of it and try and progress through this series,” Taylor said.

“We know anything can happen if we follow all basics well. We give ourselves a chance of winning tomorrow (today).
“We want to go out there and show the people that we can play cricket at this level.
“Pakistan is a world-class side and we know that.

“We have conducted a lot of video research and come the game, it will be about executing our skills and trusting in our own abilities.”
Having struggled with the bat himself in the five-match one-day-international series against India recently, he has challenged his fellow batsmen to complement the bowling attack which has been doing well.

“Bowling wasn’t an issue against India, so we hope they will continue doing well and hopefully, the batting can complement them.
“If we do that, we are going to get all three aspects right and be more competitive,” he said.
“We probably put ourselves under a lot of pressure, particularly myself, and I made three ducks.

“But I think if we play with more freedom, we can come up with positive results.”
Zimbabwe has recorded just four wins in the T-20s out of 26 matches, but Taylor said going into this series, they would not focus on records, but take each game as it came.

Hafeez said they would not take anything for granted despite the gulf that exists between the two countries as evidenced by the rankings.
“We will not underrate them. They are a good side especially when they play at home,” Hafeez said.
“The last time we played Zimbabwe in 2011, there were some closely contested matches, so we will remain focused with the aim of winning every match we play.”

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