8 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Zim Cricketers Settle in Dhaka

THE Zimbabwe cricket team arrived in Dhaka on Thursday evening with morale high in camp ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 Cup in Bangladesh.

The Zimbabweans will be taking part in the tournament for the fourth time since it was launched in 2007. Team manager Caesar Bond Nayoto said the team arrived safely and there were no injury worries among the players after a routine check-up by the travelling physiotherapist.

"We arrived in Dhaka on Thursday and everything is running according to schedule, a lot of the players have been here before and it will be easy for them to adjust to the change in environment.

"We had a successful morning session (on Friday morning) and there are no injuries in the team. After our afternoon session, we could see a lot of determination in the boys and they are raring to go, especially the guys who played in the domestic league here, I am talking about the likes of Elton Chigumbura and Sean Williams.

"It is giving the rest of the players a little comfort because their counterparts have a good record here," said Nayoto.

Seasoned players such as Hamilton Masakadza are now in their prime in Twenty20 cricket and they now carry the load of a nation that wants them to do very well at this World Cup.

Skipper Brendan Taylor will be remembered for scoring a match winning 60 in the five-wicket defeat over Australia in the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup in Cape Town.

Sadly, that is Zimbabwe's only victory in the group stages of the tournament.

National team convener of selectors, Givemore Makoni, who is also with the team, said the travelling party will take a step-by-step approach, focusing primarily on finishing at the top of Group B that features Ireland, Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates.

"We have an overall strategy for the World Cup but the first thing we need to focus on is qualifying, the warm-up stage next week will be crucial in our plans.

"We will be looking at getting the team balances in the warm-ups and when we get to the qualifiers we will have finalised combinations," he said.

The squad has young players who are set to be the core members of the national team in future tours and the likes of Natsai Mushangwe and Tendai Chatara have the golden opportunity of using the World Cup experience as a stepping stone.

Makoni says that part of his mission at the World Cup was to assess the players he can carry forward to develop into replacements for senior players like Masakadza and Taylor when they finally call time on their fine careers.

"After the World Cup we are likely to be facing South Africa and Australia, we are not yet sure about the formats that we will be playing but I am sure there will be some ODIs.

"We have a couple of youngsters that have made the side and we will be looking to see if they will rise to the occasion and be a part of our future tours," said Makoni.

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