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Chevrons top order worries Rajput

15 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Chevrons top order worries Rajput Lalchand Rajput

The Sunday Mail

Don Makanyanga
Sports Reporter

AS the ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers draw closer, Zimbabwe’s cricket team have intensified preparations, with coach Lalchand Rajput keeping a close eye on his top order, which has recently been their weakest link.

The Chevrons face Namibia in five T20 internationals which begin on Tuesday in Windhoek.

They have been using Select sides as part of their preparations, which saw the Zimbabwe XI battling it out with South Africa A, while Zimbabwe A took on Nepal.

Rajput and national team selectors are expected to pick a strong side that will play Namibia before hosting Afghanistan in three ICC World Cup Super League matches and the T20I.

The Chevrons coach believes the two tours will play a pivotal role in the selection of a team that will represent Zimbabwe when the country hosts the ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers in July.

“It was good to see 30 players playing at the same time.

“The two series (South Africa A and Nepal) gave players a lot of game time, and this gave us (technical team) an opportunity to see which players are performing very well … as we come up with the final squad that will play in the T20 World Cup qualifiers.

“Now we have a good 15 to 18 players in mind that will play together for a long time, first playing against Namibia then Afghanistan and then the qualifiers. This gives us a good opportunity to get these players together and start from the Namibia tour,” said Rajput.

Both Zimbabwe XI and Zimbabwe A found themselves on the losing end in the two series, but the coach opted to focus on the positives.

He, however, revealed that frailties of the top order were his main worry.

“The bowling department got a lot of positives from the two tours that ran concurrently, but I am a bit concerned about the batting, especially the top four, and I think that is an area that we should improve on in the coming two tours before the qualifiers,” he said.

“If we can get a good start, then the team can have a good base and a foundation that the lower order can come and supplement.

“If you are to look at our matches against South Africa A, our top order would have 30 runs for a loss of four wickets.

“So, going into the Namibia and Afghanistan series, we will be looking at who could be our best option in the top four, and that is one area that we are looking at.”

Rajput said the games they are playing ahead of the qualifiers should boost the players’ confidence.

“It is always better to play good and better teams than you going into the qualifiers, as it gives you the confidence and momentum and opportunity.

“And it is good that Zimbabwe Cricket board has organised matches against Namibia, a team that did well at the last T20 World Cup; Afghanistan, which has made progress in T20; and South Africa is one of the best teams in cricket. This gives our team a good progression in terms of preparations.”

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