Not the force it used to be, but Zimbabwe will take heart from its performance against South Africa in June
Zimbabwe may not be the force it once was, but its 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.
Its biggest win till date at the ICC World Twenty20 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 like Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura.
Taylor's experience of having played in the Sri Lankan Premier League in August 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 ICC World Twenty20. 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 into the international arena with consecutive five-wicket hauls in his first two ODIs against Bangladesh in 2011. Although Vitori is yet to make his T20I 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. To complement him will be Graeme Cremer, the legspinner, and Prosper Utseya, the offspinner who used to captain the side.
Zimbabwe will be coming into the tournament on the back of an intense conditioning camp in Harare. It would be buoyed by two successes against South Africa during the tri-series in June.
Although South Africa did not field its full-strength squad, Zimbabwe's marked improvement, especially in the batting department, could not be brushed aside.
However, it has been starved of international games since, which means that it would have just two warm-up matches in Colombo against Ireland and Bangladesh ahead of the tournament opener against Sri Lanka on September 18.