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New Zealand takes on Zimbabwe with an eye on the future

Home side, bolstered by return of Jongwe and Panyangara, looks to build on recent win against India

New Zealand takes on Zimbabwe with an eye on the future - Cricket News
Kane Williamson will lead the young New Zealand side for this tour.
Zimbabwe will look to build on the recent Twenty20 International win over India when it takes on New Zealand in a three-match One-Day International series starting on Sunday (August 2) at the Harare Sports Club. The ODI series will be followed by a one-off Twenty20 International.

After losing the three-match ODI series 3-0 and the first Twenty20 International against India by 54 runs, Zimbabwe bounced back to take the final match of the tour by ten runs.

“We’re quite sick and tired of just competing every time against better nations,” Sikandar Raza Butt said after that win, and it is now up to the team to walk the talk and stick to the positive approach.

The fact that Zimbabwe came close to snatching a win from India in the first ODI was because of a brilliant century from Elton Chigumbura, the captain, and the home side will hope he can repeat his heroics to set a solid platform for the bowlers to work with. Chamu Chibhabha, too, looked in good touch in the India series and the focus for his team should be to bat around the likes of Chigumbura, Hamilton Masakadza and Raza.

Zimbabwe has been bolstered by Luke Jongwe’s recovery from injuries sustained in a car crash and Tinashe Panyangara's return from a side strain, while John Nyumbu has been recalled.

Dav Whatmore, the Zimbabwe coach, said his team would need to repeat the energy from their last game.

“I just think we can do a bit better than what we did against India,” said Whatmore. “To win the last game was very good, there was a different energy out there, and I think if we can reproduce that against New Zealand then we should have a little bit more joy.

“Despite (Brendon) McCullum, (Tim) Southee and (Trent) Boult not being here, they’ve still got a pretty decent team, but it’s our home conditions so we have the ability to surprise.”

For New Zealand, this series comes as a good opportunity to groom youngsters and give them the much-required international cricket experience.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 finalist will be without the services of McCullum, its regular captain who has been rested, Boult, Southee and Corey Anderson. Kane Williamson will lead the side for this tour.

The selectors have picked George Worker, the all-rounder, and it’s likely he could make his international debut, while Ish Sodhi, the leg-spinner, makes a return to the side. Adam Milne, who has been sidelined because of an injury since March too is back in the squad and will look to make a promising return.

Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, said this was the right time to give young players a taste of international cricket. “If we are looking ahead to four years' time and the next World Cup, this is the perfect opportunity to start that development. Two years ago, we did the same with Corey Anderson, James Neesham and Mitch McClenaghan on their first tour,” he said.

All three ODIs and the T20I will be played at the Harare Sports Club.

Squads (from):

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Regis Chakabwa (wk), Hamilton Masakadza, Sikandar Raza Butt, Sean Williams, Graeme Cremer, Tinashe Panyangara, Christopher Mpofu, John Nymbu, Vusi Sibanda, Luke Jongwe, Neville Madziva.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.

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