AUSTRALIA coach Darren Lehmann says his side is wary of the threat that Zimbabwe poses when the two teams clash in the first match of the tri-series at Harare Sports Club tomorrow.
Speaking at a press conference after the team's training at Country Club yesterday, the former Australia free-scoring left-handed batsman said: "I must say they are a bit of an unknown because we haven't played them in quite a while but I have watched Zimbabwe's recent matches against South Africa on TV. They have a number of players to watch, and we know that we have to perform well to beat them."
The Aussies will be playing their first competitive match since March and will be looking to kick-start the series on a high before facing arch-rivals South Africa on Wednesday.
Lehmann also acknowledged that South Africa will be more a challenging proposition for the number one ODI team from down under.
"It's a tri-series and we have played a lot of them. We are aware that they [South Africa]can revenge the defeat we handed them when we played them back in Australia. It's going to be a good contest and pretty competitive," said the 44-year-old gaffer.
The two cricket giants met early this year and Australia beat South Africa 2-1 in Tests before a convincing 2-0 triumph in T20s.
He also said his captain Michael Clarke is keen to start against Zimbabwe but today's training session will determine his chances and probably give in-form Phillip Hughes an opportunity to shine.
Lehmann finally gave his verdict on the state of cricket in Zimbabwe.
"Zimbabwe, I understand, are regrouping. Their biggest challenge is to keep getting better and become as strong as the Zimbabwe of old. Once they begin to play better, ICC will definitely have a different view of them," he said.
The ODI tri-series starts tomorrow with the two teams playing each other twice. The top two teams will make the final to be played on September 6.