Zimbabwe are desperate for a win, following crashing losses to India and the West Indies. The losses were sandwiched by a not-all-that important ODI Series win over Bangladesh at home, after the two sides had drawn previous two Tests.
The Zimbabweans were also whitewashed on their tour of New Zealand – re-sparking the debate as to whether they should have been allowed to return to Test cricket in 2011 after a five year absence.
With that in mind, Pakistan’s visit provides a chance for the local boys to prove a point or two, but first, the hosts must improve on their batting, which continues to be a serious cause for concern.
While Sikandar Reza hit 82 on the first day of play against India, that form could not be maintained as the batsmen crumbled in the days that followed. Some, including Captain Brendan Taylor, went out for a duck, while the usually dependable Hamilton Masakadza could not even reach a modest 30. Apart from former skipper Elton Chigumbura’s two half centuries, there was nothing else to talk about and coach Andy Waller has to ensure his trusted top order of Reza, Vusi Sibanda, Masakadza, Taylor and Chigumbura begins to turn on the style against Pakistan and in the tours to come.
Zimbabwe’s fielding has also been terrible, considering the six and seven wicket losses, but whether there is water in Taylor’s excuse that the team needs a fielding coach is something else.
As the team heads into the Pakistan challenge, it is disheartening that they refused to train for the whole of last week over a contractual and payment dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket, who are sitting on an $8 million debt. That dispute has since been resolved. Waller has promised competition against the 1992 World Champions, adding that very soon the team would be posting impressive results.
The tourists have a rich cricket tradition and have brought their best team that includes the likes of skipper Misbah Ul Haq and Muhammed Hafeez, the seasoned Shahid Afirid, Saed Ajmal and former captain Younus Khan.
The teams will meet again in three ODIs, starting with the first at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday before they turn to test matches that start on September 3. The second Test, which will be at Bulawayo’s Queens Sports Club has been scheduled between September 10 and 14.Post published in: Football