Zimbabwe look for turnaround in fortunes

Updated: 13 September 2012 23:57 IST

Zimbabwe may not be the force they once were, but their ability to cause a few upsets may well put Sri Lanka and South Africa, also placed in Group C at the ICC World Twenty20 2012, on guard.

Zimbabwe look for turnaround in fortunes

Bangalore:

Zimbabwe may not be the force they once were, but their ability to cause a few upsets may well put Sri Lanka and South Africa, also placed in Group C at the ICC World Twenty20 2012, on guard.

Their biggest win till date at the World T20 came at Cape Town in 2007 against Australia. Brendan Taylor, the man who was instrumental in helping them cross the line in that game, will lead this team.

He will also be the flagbearer of a batting line-up that consists of some experienced players such as Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura.

Taylor's experience of having played in the Sri Lankan Premier League in August 2012 may stand Zimbabwe in good stead, although his returns were far from impressive. The team will miss the services of Tatenda Taibu, who retired in June despite being named in the 30-man probables list.

Forster Mutizwa, the wicketkeeper batsman, and Ray Price are the only changes to the squad that upstaged South Africa in an unofficial T20 series that also included Bangladesh in June. Mutizwa, who had recently been sidelined due to injury, comes into the side as cover for Taylor, who will keep wicket in Sri Lanka following the retirement of Taibu.

Richard Muzhange, the 21-year-old medium-pacer, was the only uncapped member named in the 15-man squad for the World T20. Muzhange, who has trained under Jason Gillespie, the former Australian fast bowler, during his stint with the Midwest Rhinos in the domestic championship, impressed during the series in June, with his yorkers and accurate line-and-length bowling.

The pace-bowling unit will be led by Christopher Mpofu and Brian Vitori, who burst onto the international arena with consecutive five-wicket hauls in his first two ODIs against Bangladesh in 2011. Although Vitori is yet to make his T20 International debut, the degree of success that he has had in ODIs and Test matches should boost Zimbabwe. Heath Streak, the team's bowling coach, possesses a wealth of experience and will be an invaluable mentor.

Given the conditions in Sri Lanka, Ray Price, the left-arm spinner who is also their most experienced bowler, will be required to give the side breakthroughs as well as stifle the run flow. Graeme Cremer, the legspinner, and Prosper Utseya, the offspinner and former captain, will complement Price well.

Zimbabwe will be coming into the tournament on the back of an intense conditioning camp in Harare, and buoyed by the two successes against South Africa in the tri-series in June. South Africa did not field a full-strength squad then, but Zimbabwe will take heart from their marked improvement, especially in the batting department.

However, they have been starved of international games since, which means that they have just two warm-up matches in Colombo against Ireland and Bangladesh ahead of the tournament opener against Sri Lanka on September 18.

Topics : ICC World Twenty20 2012 Ricky Ponting Canada Cricket Zimbabwe Brendan Taylor Vusi Sibanda Ray Price Graeme Cremer
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