By Kevin Mapasure in Bulawayo THE Zimbabwe national cricket team has been dealt a major blow following an injury to star bowler Blessing Muzarabani ahead of their white ball series against Bangladesh starting at the end of the month.
Zimbabwe will host Bangladesh for three one-day internationals and as many T-20 matches at Harare Sports Club starting on July 30.
Muzarabani injured his quad in the T-20 World Cup qualifying tournament semi-final against Papua New Guinea on Friday.
He missed the final against Netherlands, which Zimbabwe won by 37 runs to claim the trophy as well as a spot at the World Cup finals in Australia.
Fellow seamer Tendai Chatara is set to miss the home series against Bangladesh and India as well as the visit to Australia.
Coach Dave Houghton revealed that Chatara is in a race to be fit for the World Cup.
“Blessing is out for four to five weeks, Chatara, we will be lucky if he recovers before the World Cup, but it opens up opportunities for some youngsters,” Houghton said.
Zimbabwe will be hoping that Muzarabani recovers in time for the Super League matches against India and Australia as the Chevrons continue their push for an automatic place at the 2023 World Cup.
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Houghton is hoping that the team continues with its momentum after recording five wins in as many matches in the qualifying tournament.
“When you win and when you win consistently, you bring belief. The upcoming matches against Bangladesh, India and Australia will help us because we will get a clearer picture of where we are. These are some of the best sides in the world. For me, it’s about getting Zimbabwe back where they belong. It will take time, you take steps forward and sometimes steps back,” he said.
Captain Craig Ervine acknowledged that Zimbabwe face tougher assignments, but is hoping the confidence gained from winning the tournament in Bulawayo can help carry them against Bangladesh, India and Australia.
“At the World Cup, it’s going be a tough group. We have to fight. The team is a good mix of senior guys and junior guys. Going forward, every game is going to be important. We have tough matches coming up, so we know challenges are going to be bigger, but we want to continue playing that confident cricket.”
Zimbabwe have been placed in the same pool as West Indies, Ireland and Scotland at the T-20 World Cup.
The top two teams will qualify for the Super 12.
- Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinmapasure