The Zimbabwe national cricket team will be hoping for a positive start when they open their campaign at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup against defending champions Australia at the Sardar Patel Stadium, in Ahmedabad Monday.
The match starts at 11am local time.
In an interview with the Indian Express, Zimbabwe’s batting coach Grant Flower admitted that meeting the Australians was always going to be hard.
“It’s always tough to play against Australia. We want to make a good start to the tournament and then take it from there. We have learnt from mistakes and we are now a well-organised squad.
“We didn’t play left-arm spin well but our guys have worked on it as they know playing in the subcontinent is a demanding task. Our strength is spin and we will try to restrict Australia with the spinners we have with us.”
The former Zimbabwe opening batsman knows well that the Australians are going to unleash their pace bowlers led by Bret Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait.
“We have prepared well to face the Australian fast bowlers and it depends a lot on playing them on merit.
“They have a good set of quick bowlers and they will try to put us on the back foot. They will try to pitch it short early but our guys are aware of that and they have practised accordingly,” he said.
Australia who are aiming to win a fourth successive World Cup have dominated their performance over Zimbabwe, having lost only once in their inaugural encounter in the 1983 World Cup by 13 runs.
“Our main strength is spin. There are a lot of good players of spin in the Australian side, so it will be a good test. Hopefully, we will bowl in the right areas,” Flower said ahead of today’s day-night clash.
Zimbabwe have a clutch of spinners in veteran Raymond Price, Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer, who are capable of exerting pressure on batsmen with a tidy line and length.
Australia’s batsmen failed to handle the spinners in their warm-up match losses against India and South Africa which should give Zimbabwe some hope that they could exert the same pressure.
Although Zimbabwe lost a One-Day series in Bangladesh recently, Flower said the experience was likely to be valuable.
“We have worked hard on our game (since the Bangladesh series) and they (batsmen and bowlers) are aware of what is needed in the sub-continent,” he said.
“The players are playing decent cricket. There is quite a bit of experience in the side and we are expecting some good things in the World Cup.”
Flower said his team needed to start the tournament strongly to gain confidence and momentum.
“My advice to the team will be to keep a clear head and enjoy the moment. Don’t try to put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy the challenge.”