ZIMBABWE’s one-day international (ODI) cricket captain Elton Chigumbura is bidding to continue on a rich vein of form which he struck in Pakistan when he leads his side against India in the first of three matches at Harare Sports Club this morning.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
The all-rounder, who scored his maiden tour in Lahore in May flourishing at the new number four batting position, is taking it upon himself to try and inspire victory against the mighty of India.
After the departure of Brendan Taylor who occupied the number four slot, Chigumbura has taken responsibility even though he suffered the misfortune of a two-match ban in the Pakistan tour due to a slow over rate.
He returns to the side and will slot back into his position as coach Dav Whatmore seeks to inspire a win in his first home match since he took over from Steve Mangongo.
Chigumbura told reporters at a Press conference yesterday that his confidence had been restored and was relishing the different challenge posed by the Indians.
“Everyone is eager to get on with it,” Chigumbura said about his team.
“We have prepared well and we feel we are ready all that’s left is for us to go out tomorrow (today) and execute our skills.”
Despite India sending out a young bowling attack, Chigumbura is under no illusion that it will be any easier.
“They, India, are a very strong side and it’s going to be an exciting challenge for us. It is not easy to get selected for India, so all the players that came here actually earned it. We respect them just as much as we respect the guys that were rested,” Chigumbura said.
“I have been working hard and I hope I can continue with the good form from Pakistan. I feel if I do well, I will give my team a better chance of winning. So it’s a huge responsibility, but I am looking forward to doing well again.”
Whatmore, on the other hand, is looking for better penetration with the ball after an overhaul of the bowling line up that toured Pakistan.
Of the seamers that travelled to Pakistan, Tawanda Mupariwa has been left out of the squad in this series, while Chris Mpofu only managed a place as a stand-by outside the 15-member squad.
While Brian Vitori has made the squad, he is unlikely to make the final 11 today.
“We are aware of the gap in rankings between the two nations, but we have players that have played more international cricket than the Indians,” Whatmore said.
“That, however, does not necessarily translate into results. We know there are areas that we need to work on. Our bowlers need to pick more wickets regularly and our fielding needs to improve. So if our batting continues to do as well as they did in Pakistan, we give ourselves a good chance of winning.”
The Indians will be looking to their captain Ajinkya Rahane, opening batsman Murali Vijay, Mohit Sharma, who made his debut in Zimbabwe in 2013, while Harbhajan Singh’s bag of tricks could trouble the hosts.
Zimbabwe probable 11: V Sibanda, C Chibhabha, H Masakadza, E Chigumbura, S Williams, R Mutumbami, R Chakabva, P Utseya, G Cremer, T Panyangara and D Tiripano.