ZIMBABWE will be taking no prisoners when they embark on the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier Africa starting on Tuesday in Namibia in their quest to qualify for the global showcase to be co-hosted by West Indies and the USA next year.
The qualifiers will see Zimbabwe joining Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and kick off their campaign against hosts, Namibia on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe visited Namibia for a practice tour ahead of the qualifiers and lost the series 3-2.
Head coach, Dave Houghton said his side will not be taking any team lightly and if need be, they will be sleeping with one eye open.
“The tendency even from people who are fans, they talk about us going back to Namibia to play Namibia, well Namibia are one of the seven sides we have to play. Obviously, I want to hit the ground running, I want us to beat them. It's as simple as that. We have more knowledge of their team than they have of ours because they played their best team against us three weeks ago,” Houghton told The Standard Sport.
“But, I have been explaining to our guys that we cannot only focus on one team. "We have to come out and play our brand of cricket and beat every team that’s in front of us. The fact of the matter is that two people who will be considered our biggest threats will be Namibia and Uganda and we play them first and second. But you then can’t take your eye off the ball.
“I was chatting to the guys and they said when we played them in the last T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Bulawayo, the biggest fight we got was from Jersey and none would have expected that at all, who is Jersey to give us the problem.
“But, they play good honest cricket, they try hard and they can cause you problems. So, we have to have our eye on every team we play whether it will be Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya or whoever, we have to play our brand of cricket, bully the opposition to come away with good wins.”
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Bowling coach Steve Kirby echoed Houghton’s sentiments, but declared the team ready for duty.
“Uganda are a good team, they are here, they are training at the moment and Namibia are really a strong team. There are other teams there that are going to come well-drilled. We will be on point. I can absolutely, categorically assure everybody, with the way that we are training we are leaving no stone unturned. We don’t take everybody lightly,” said Kirby.
The top two sides in the tournament will qualify for the 2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup.
- Zimbabwe Squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier Africa: Sikandar Raza (Captain), Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Craig Ervine, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Clive Madande, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Carl Mumba, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Nick Welch, Sean Williams.