ZIMBABWE national team selectors are likely to unleash their most experienced team today for the first of two T-20 match-series against Pakistan at the Harare Sports Club, hoping to get off with a confidence-boosting winning start.
REPORT BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Chairman of selectors Givemore Makoni yesterday said they were looking at the strongest and most experienced side.
This would mean that the batting trio of 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-man squad, but we will pick eleven players whom we feel have the experience to deliver a win against a strong Pakistan side,” said Makoni.
The team will only be named this morning.
In the bowling department the seam duo of Brian Vitori and Tendai Chatara could share the new ball, while the departure of Kyle Jarvis could open up space for Shingi Masakadza who is also decent with the bat.
A clash with Pakistan will be no mean task in a line-up that among others, includes captain Mohammad Hafeez, spin wizard Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, and Mohammad Irfan.
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Taylor yesterday told reporters at a Press conference that his team was ready to take up the challenge of trying to upstage the top sides.
“What we have been clamouring for is to play against top sides and regardless of our performance against India I think we can take a few positives out of it and try and progress through this series,” said Taylor. “We know anything can happen if we do 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 done 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 continue doing well and hopefully the batting can complement them and if we do that we are going to get all three aspects right and be more competitive,” said Taylor.
“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 will not focus on records, but take each game as it comes.
Pakistan captain, Hafeez, said that they would not take anything for granted despite the gulf that exists between the two nations as evidenced by the rankings.
“We will not underrate them, they are a good side especially when they play at home,” said Hafeez. “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.”