ZIMBABWE’S Under-19 cricket team faces a tough battle when they engage hosts India in their opening match of the Quadrangular Under-19 tournament at the Port Stadium in Vishakhapatnam on Monday.
The side will also face Australia and neighbours South Africa during the 13-day tournament, hoping to get their campaign off to a positive start with a good performance today.
However, they face an uphill task against an Indian side who are the reigning Under-19 world champions after lifting last year’s world cup in Australia.
India will also have the advantage of playing in their own conditions.
However, Zimbabwe coach Walter Chawaguta said they had put in a lot of hard work in trying to adjust to playing on different wickets.
“Obviously, the boys will need to acclimatise quickly, but as far as the playing surfaces are concerned we have put in a lot of effort.
“When we played against the different franchises around the country.
We tried to manipulate the quicks a bit so that they
become a bit similar to what we expect in India so we hope it won’t be a huge factor,” said Chawaguta.
Zimbabwe, who have six survivors from the World Cup squad, will look to their skipper Malcolm Lake for inspiration against the Indians.
Lake smashed an impressive 118 runs in Zimbabwe’s group match against the Indians which they eventually lost by 63 runs at Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville, Australia in August last year.
All the four teams at the tournament will play each other twice. The matches will be played at the YSR Stadium and the Port Stadium.
The top two teams will play each other in the final set for October 5 and the remaining two for third and fourth places.
The 15-member Under-19 Indian team will be led by Vijay Zol, who was also part of India’s squad at last year’s World Cup.
Zimbabwe Under-19 Squad: Joylord Gumbie, Clive Chitumba, Brandon Diplock, Charles Kunje, Jack Myers, Mkhululi Nyathi, Sean Handirisi, Luke Jongwe (Vice-captain), Carl Mumba, Cuthbert Musoko, Dylan Nel, Deven Bell, Malcolm Lake (Captain), Ryan Burl, Kieron Geyle
Fixtures: September 23: India vs Zimbabwe (YSR Stadium); Australia vs South Africa (Port Stadium)
September 25: Australia vs Zimbabwe (YSR Stadium); India vs South Africa (Port Stadium)
September 27: Australia vs India (YSR Stadium); Zimbabwe vs South Africa (Port Stadium)
September 29: Australia vs South Africa (YSR Stadium); India vs Zimbabwe (Port Stadium)
October 1: India vs South Africa (YSR Stadium); Australia vs Zimbabwe (Port Stadium)
October 3: Zimbabwe vs South Africa (YSR Stadium); Australia vs India (Port Stadium)
October 5: Final (YSR Stadium) and 3rd place (Port Stadium)