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25 September 201022:17

Chigumbura optimistic about Zimbabwe's chances

Our strong spinners are an added advantage admits Elton Chigumbura

Chigumbura optimistic about Zimbabwe's chances - Cricket News

Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura is confident about his team's prospects.

With less than 150 days to go for ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura sounded confident about his team's chances at the mega event. Zimbabwe are placed in Group A alongside four-time winners Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Canada.

"I think it will be more like carrying on from where we left in June when we played India and Sri Lanka in a tri-nation series. Our game has been improving and we hope to pick it from there and proceed all the way past the first round stages.

"We have an added advantage on the sub-continent because of the strength of our spinners. Our batting technique seems to be improving at a very fast pace. It's one area that has been lacking in the past and I am glad we are shaping up," said Chigumbura in an interview to The Herald.

Chigumbura returned home after a stint in English county cricket to play Ireland in a three-match One-Day International series. He was particularly happy with the fact that Zimbabwe XI managed to gain honours in a drawn ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Ireland.

"I am impressed with the batting. The guys really applied themselves well and it's a very good sign especially as we prepare for the ICC Cricket World Cup and a return to Test cricket. It's just one way to show that these guys are improving. Their efforts are showing on the field and we need to keep up the standards," he said.

In particular, Chigumbura was impressed with young fast bowler Shingirai Masakadza. "Shingi is an up-and-coming fast bowler who still needs lots of encouragement and guidance. It's very good he is afforded this chance to play and like many others, he can only get better with exposure. We need more of these games," said Chigumbura.

As part of the build-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, Zimbabwe are set to tour South Africa next month for a series of two Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals. The Zimbabwe A team will be hosting a touring New Zealand A side at the same time in three matches at the Harare Sports Club.

"I think it's all fair to give players a chance. I am happy there are going to be many games to be played because the more we play the better we get. It creates competition for places in the team. In essence, this is healthy because it pushes everyone to perform well and justify their presence in the team. We need it because that's the only way we can improve as a nation," added Chigumbura.