Zimbabwe were placed 11th, just two places below their vastly-improved hosts, at the beginning of the tour and want to win their five-ODI match-up, which began yesterday in Mirpur and ends in Chittagong on December 12.
Both Coach Allan Butcher and Captain Elton Chigumbura told an arrival press conference at the weekend that the CBZ-sponsored Zimbabwe would put up a commendable match against Bangladesh, who are seeking eighth position after the Africans tour.
We got some good reviews from our (recent) performances in South Africa, said Butcher, whose arrival has somewhat steadied Zimbabwes ship. However, we did not win any games and we have come here to play some good cricket and win some games. Weve prepared well and taken a look at the conditions and it is going to be totally different from those in South Africa and we have prepared for them as well.
The intention of winning
We will approach every game with the intention of winning and if we do that well enough indeed we will win the series. I am not going to sit here and promise that we will this series because Bangladesh will be feeling pretty confident as well. As we went to South Africa we did not really feel we would win the series but it is a lot different here in Bangladesh.
Butcher, who said his side was comfortable with the hot weather in Bangladesh, added that each game would be worth taking home for his youthful side.
It is warm in Zimbabwe at the moment, so heat should not be a problem. A lot of the guys have played here before the likes of Elton (Chigumbura), Prosper (Utseya) and Ray Price who have been here before. This is their sixth visit and they have plenty of experience playing here. Dew and humidity may be a factor but we are going to deal with any eventuality.
Butcher added that their performance in ODI will be a factor in how people perceive Zimbabwe cricket, adding that should they win the series after Bangladesh demolished New Zealand, people will have to sit up and take notice and respect Zimbabwe cricket and feel that it is on an upward path again.
I am more concerned about what we do and how we play, that will be my main focus. Chigumbura concurred. All we have to do is play good cricket and concentrate on our own team and not focus too much on what Bangladesh is doing the focus is our team, said the Zimbabwean skipper, who has played commendable cricket for Zimbabwe in the same venue before.
I just need to carry off from where I left off the last time I was here. I will be positive, the team will be even more positive this time hopefully we will play good cricket and in games.
World Cup prep
It will be good to play here to prepare ourselves for the world cup. I am expecting my guys to be positive and if you do that, we will have a higher chance of achieving the results we want. We expect that from here (Bangladesh) and the guys are working on it, in the hope that it will come right during the games as well.
The results in this match-up, the one between third-placed India and New Zealand and another pitting Sri Lanka against the West Indies, will, depending on how they pan out, have a huge bearing on the ODI rankings, where Sri Lanka occupied second position with 118 points one ahead of India, at the beginning of the week. If India wins it five-match ODI series against New Zealand, it is guaranteed second place in the championship table even if Sri Lanka beats the West Indies in its upcoming series.
A 5-0 win for India will put it on 121 ratings points seven behind Australia who currently top the table. Should Sri Lanka win its series against West Indies also 5-0 the side will sit in third place while if India wins 3-2 it will still climb to second place, while should India lose its series 5-0 to New Zealand it would see the side drop to fifth, while Dan Vettoris team could rise to sixth should it beat Mahendra Singh Dhonis men 4-1 or more.
However, a 3-2 series win would see the Black Caps rising to sixth on 101 points while India would drop down to fourth on 114 points. A 5-0 series win for Bangladesh over the visiting Zimbabwe could see the team rise to 70 ratings points and occupy eighth place, pushing West Indies to ninth spot. Should Bangladesh win the series 3-2 or lose it by any margin it will not rise in the championship and Zimbabwe has the opportunity to rise up to 10th place.
The challenge for Zimbabwe is a tough one for especially after Bangladeshs recent run of success in the ODI format at home against New Zealand. Sri Lankas upcoming series against the West Indies could see the side relinquish its recently acquired second-place should Darren Sammys side beat Kumar Sangakkaras men but even a 5-0 whitewash of the home side would not see the West Indies rise out of eighth place it would reach 87 ratings points but still not move.
Zimbabwe Series schedule:
Bangladesh v Zimbabwe
1 December First ODI, Mirpur
3 December Second ODI, Mirpur
6 December Third ODI, Mirpur
10 December Fourth ODI, Chittagong
12 December Fifth ODI, ChittagongPost published in: Zimbabwe Sports News