The West Indies national cricket team are expected to arrive in Bulawayo around noon today ahead of their two-Test series against the hosts starting on October 21.
BY Kevin Mapasure
The Caribbean side join Zimbabwe, who are already in Bulawayo preparing for the series which both sides will be desperate to win and put some points on the board.
The tourists will play Zimbabwe “A” in a three-day match starting on Sunday.
Seventeen players form the Zimbabwe squad, but among them, Sikandar Raza Butt has not yet joined camp and was said to be still in Harare.
Kyle Jarvis and Brendan Taylor, who recently opted out of their County Cricket contracts to return to international cricket, are part of the squad that is headed by captain Graeme Cremer.
Tendai Chatara is reportedly injured and set to miss the series and the selectors have included Mike Chinouya and Richard Ngarava while Donald Tiripano was left out.
West Indies will be chasing their first series win after they last won against Bangladesh three years ago.
Zimbabwe’s last win also came against Bangladesh in a one-off Test played in 2011.
West Indies captain Jason Holder told the media before the team’s departure that he wants to see his side continue their progression when they take on Zimbabwe, but they are not underestimating their hosts.
“It won’t be difficult to motivate our guys,” Holder told CMC Sports prior to the side’s departure.
“We’re a young side. After the performances we’ve had in England and against Pakistan earlier this year and also in the back end of last year against Pakistan again, I think is encouraging and we have to keep heading in the direction we’re going in.”
He continued: “I am seeing good things from this group and I don’t think there should be any difficulty in motivating any of the guys. Everybody should be up for it. It’s our chance to win a series. We haven’t won a series in a while and Zimbabwe will be good opposition for us to play.”
West Indies have never lost to Zimbabwe in eight previous meetings, winning six times and drawing twice.
“They (Zimbabwe) had a really good time in Sri Lanka and they seem to be very competitive,” the all-rounder noted.
“And obviously with Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis coming back into their squad, they’re pretty much at full strength as well.
“Consistency is something I’ve preached in the dressing room for a very long time and I think once we’re consistent in all departments we should get the results we’re looking for.”
Graeme Cremer (captain), Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Regis Chakabva, Malcolm Waller, Solomon Mire, Sikandar Raza Butt, Peter Moor, Chamu Chibhabha, Tendai Chisoro, Richard Ngarava, Chris Mpofu, Mike Chinouya, Kyle Jarvis, Nyasha Mayavo