ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) skipper Hamilton Masakadza is confident of guiding his side to victory against Pakistan in the one-day internationals (ODI) series which starts at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo this morning.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
The Chevrons start the five-game series without injured in-form batsman Solomon Mire, but Masakadza believes they can handle the pressure to overcome their more illustrious opponents.
Pakistan have won all the three games they have played against Zimbabwe at Queens Sports Club.
But that has even given Masakadza and his men the steel.
“There is always a little bit of pressure, but having been around for a long time, I have learnt to embrace and deal with pressure; probably it will not affect me the same way the younger guys will be so it is up to me to try and help them. There is always pressure as a batter to put runs on the board for the team and that doesn’t change, but it will spur me to get the team off to a good start,” Masakadza said.
Kyle Jarvis has also been ruled out by injury, but the skipper is upbeat that uncapped batsman Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Chamu Chibhabha and Brian Chari to the party against a more experienced Pakistan.
“We have two guys that are a cover in the top order. We have young Kamunhukamwe and also Chamu Chibhabha coming back to the one-day set-up and they are all opening batters. We also have Brian Chari, who was in the T20 series, but did not get a game, so we have enough cover up top,” he said.
Masakadza said the series will give the young players in the team a chance showcase themselves on the international arena.
“As a country, we don’t play a lot of international cricket, so there is a lot to be gained by playing these games. We won’t be in the World Cup, but it is an opportunity to start building up for the guys that will be at the next World Cup. It is a very inexperienced side; it’s an opportunity to for them to have a feel of what it is like playing at the highest level, so I think there is a lot to be gained,” he said.
He said the younger players in the team should express themselves and not give in to pressure.
“We have played them (Pakistan) before and we have already seen few of the guys. Our guys have a fair idea of what to expect. The game plan is to get the guys a little bit relaxed and express themselves; not to feel too much pressure and take the game to the opposition and that is the only way you can play in any sport. We just have to go there and show them who we are and what we are capable of,” Masakadza said.
Zimbabwe ODI squad
Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Wellington Masakadza, Peter Moor, Ryan Murray, Tarisai Musakanda, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Liam Roche, Donald Tiripano, Malcolm Waller